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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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.
- +447045769022 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Susanna moorehead" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 12:10:00 -0000
Subject: World Bank Payment advice.
Based on the new arrangement which Transparency International have made on
ground regarding the best position we should complete this transaction
successfully, we have concluded the arrangement with world bank directors
to assist you in to credit your funds via world bank online wire transfers
or Telephone Banking service and bank to bank wires, all this
arrangement is available with world bank.
All you need to do is your total compliance with the world bank and
Transparency International full directives so that you will complete and
finalize this transaction with world bank.
Here is the information to contact the World Bank as follows: Contact
Name is: Mrs. Susanna Moorehead. Contact number for
World Bank is: +447045769022
Mrs. Susanna Moorehead. Email to contact her is
She need to talk to you about every aspect of this matter and then she
will direct you on how best to complete this transaction for you. Meaning
that she have so many things to discuss with you because she is the direct
person in charge of debts payment.
She is like your account officer in the world Bank and I am only here to
make sure that
everything work perfectly fine until you receive full access to your fund.
She really wants to verify the authentic aspect of you being the
beneficiary of the fund, meaning that your true beneficiary status must be
adhered by the World Bank agent before the final consent must be properly
completed on your behalf, because there is secret
code which must be given to you officially via courier service from world
bank direct to your personal mailing address, then with that code you will
have to call world bank and activate the code.
This is for security reasons, so that nobody intercept or intrude on your
account via online electronics wire system which is still available for
you in any of the payment choice chosen by you.
Nguyen Thi Kieu Vien
Transparency International Executive Director.