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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. George Adams"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2010 20:14:37 -0700
Subject: SCAM VICTIM REMUNERATION:
OCEANIC INTERNATIONAL BANK PLC/UNITED NATIONS SCAM VICTIM COMPENSATION PAYMENT.
This is to bring to your notice that I am delegated from the United Nations to Central Bank to pay 150 scam victims $1,500,000.00 (ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLAR) each. You are listed and approved for this payment as one of the scammed victims to be paid this amount, get back to me as soon as possible for the immediate payments of your $1,500,000.00 compensations funds.
On this faithful recommendations, we want you to know that during the last U.N. meetings held at Abuja, Nigeria, it was alarmed so much by the world in the meetings on the lose of funds by various individuals to the scams artists operating in syndicates all over the world today.
In other to compensate victims, the U.N Body in conjunction with the Nigerian Government is now paying 150 victims of this operators $1,500,000.00 each in accordance with the U.N. recommendations.
Due to the corrupt and inefficient Banking Systems in Nigeria, the payments are to be supervised by the United Nations' Officials and the Central Bank of Nigeria as the corresponding paying bank OCEANIC INTERNATIONAL BANK PLC.
According to the number of applicants at hand, 114 Beneficiaries has been paid, half of the victims are from the United States, and we still have more 36 left to be paid the compensations of $1,500,000.00 each. Your particulars was mentioned by one of the Syndicates who was arrested as one of their victims of the operations, you are hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this message to him for any reason what so ever as the U.S. secret service is already on trace of the other criminals.
Other victims who have not been contacted can submit their application as well for scrutiny and possible consideration. You are thereby advised to contact the private client office of the Oceanic International Bank Plc in Nigeria through the following information. You will receive your compensation payments through, DRAFT/ATM PAYMENTS SYSTEM.
You will be detailed with the modalities as you contact us for details. Victoria Lawrence (email@example.com)
Mr. George Adams
Plot 104-106 UNESCO Building,
Tel: +234 8074690760