fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "you will take 25%" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Eng. Ibrahim Babalola" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2021 11:37:39 +0100
Subject: FOR BUSINESS / INVESTMENT,, OB=3L
My name is Eng. Ibrahim Babalola, and I am the Chairman, Contract
tenders Board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
I have a sum of $118.9 million (USD) in my custody that I want to move
out of my country for safe keeping / Investment in your Country,
the Origin of the funds are as a result of a deliberate inflation of
the value of a contract awarded by our corporation a few years back,
(OVER INVOICED AMOUNT).
You will take 25% of the total sum, for your assistance.I will give
you more details about the transaction upon your acceptance.
Be rest assured that everything is legal and risk free as I have
concluded all the arrangements for the procurement of the legal papers
that will back up the transaction. Kindly indicate your interest if
you can assist me so as to enable me to give you the FULL details
about the transaction.
I am waiting for your urgent response with your confidential phone
number to discuss with you, this is my Confidential number:
+234 9095783857 or you can send me your confidential number to
discuss with you.
Eng. Ibrahim Babalola.