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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "robert mueller" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real FBI will not tell you to contact some email address. If you are in any doubt, contact an FBI field office via www.fbi.gov. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- abuja, federal capital territory, nigeria. email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: +234-805-121-5850 meanwhile, we will advise that you (Sify; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "FBI" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 2010 08:30:25 +0100
Subject: Your attention is needed
ROBERT MUELLER III
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FBI
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Washington D.C
has been informed through our Global intelligence
monitoring network that your over-due contract payment
which was fully endorsed in your name by the
Central Bank of Nigeria has not been claimed.
We also wish to inform you that the contract payment is
100% genuine and you have the lawful
right to claim your funds without any further delay.
We further advise that you go ahead in dealing with the
Governor of the Central Bank office accordingly as we will
be monitoring all their services with you as well as your
correspondence at all level.
We were also made to understand that a lady with name Mrs.
Joan C.Bailey from OHIO has already contacted them and also
presented to them all the necessary documentation evidencing your
claim purported to have been signed personally by you prior to
the release of your contract fund valued at about US$8,000,000.00
(Eight million United States Dollars), but the Central Bank office
did the wise thing by insisting on hearing from you personally
before they go ahead on wiring your funds to the Bank information
which was forwarded to them by the above named Lady so that the
main reason why they contacted us so as to assist them in making
Contact immediately the office of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
via the private email of the governor with the below information accordingly:
(Please endeavour to use this code while contacting him --"CODE 777" )
NAME: Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
OFFICE ADDRESS: Central Bank of Nigeria,
Central Business District,
Cadastral Zone, Abuja, Federal
Capital Territory, Nigeria.
Meanwhile, we will advise that you contact the office
of the Governor of the Central Bank immediately with
the above email address and request that they attend
to your payment file as directed, so as to enable you
receive your contract fund accordingly.
To this effect, you are required to reconfirm and
authenticate your given particulars below for certainty
and onward processing and release of you funds
as we may not be held liable for any wrong payment.
FULL NAMES: __________________________________
TELEPHONE NUMBER: _____________________
EMAIL ADDRESS: _____________________
Ensure you follow all their procedure as may be required by
them as that will further help hasten up the whole procedure
as regard to the transfer of your fund to you as designated.
Also have in mind that the Central Bank of Nigeria
equally have their own protocol of operation as stipulated
on their banking terms, so delay could be very dangerous.
Thank you very much for your anticipated co-operation in
advance as we earnestly await your urgent response to this matter.
Robert S. Mueller III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, D.C.
Private email : email@example.com