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:
- 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:
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: "UNITED NATIONS." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2012 04:16:49 -0600
Subject: UNITED NATIONS.
(WORLD BANK ASSISTED PROGRAMME)
DIRECTORATE OF INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AND TRANSFERS.
WIRE TRANSFER/AUDIT UNIT
Our Ref: WB/NF/UN/XX027.
UNITED NATIONS 2011 SCAM VICTIMS
SCAMMED VICTIM/$200,000 BENEFICIARIES, REF/PAYMENTS
CODE:06654 $200,000 USD.
This is to bring to your notice that I am delegated
from the United Nations to Central Bank of NIGERIA
to pay 150 scam victims $200,000 USD (Two Hundred
Thousand Dollars) 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 $200,000 USD
On this faithful recommendations, I want you to know
that during the last U.N. meetings held at Cotonou,
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 is now
paying 150 victims of this operators $200,000 USD
each in accordance with the U.N. recommendations.
Due to the corrupt and inefficient Banking Systems
in world today, the payments are to be paid through
Certified Bank Draft and Certified Bank Cheque.
You are to receive your Certified Bank Draft or
Certified Bank Cheque through a reputable Courier
Firm and you are to pay for the mailing fee of $185
while we are to pay for your Insurance Coverage
According to the number of applicants at hand, 104
Beneficiaries has been paid, half of the victims are
from the United States, and we still have more 46
left to be paid the compensations of $200,000 USD
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. So keep it
secret till they are all apprehended.
Other victims who have not been contacted can submit
their application as well for scrutiny and possible