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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- "remmittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr jubril bello" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2008 21:05:15 +0100
Subject: From The Office Of Dr Jubril Bello
*From The Office Of Dr Jubril Bello*
*CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN)
TINUBU SQUARE, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS-NIGERIA
Reply- to:firstname.lastname@example.org <to%3Ajubrilbello00a1@gmail.com>
*Following the protest of the International Community, The World Bank, IMF
and the instruction by the President and Commander in Chief of the armed
forces (Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua) that all outstanding foreign debts especially
next of kin payment should be released to the beneficiaries forth with
*From the records of outstanding debts due for payment with the Federal
government of Nigeria your name was discovered as next on the list of the
outstanding, who have not received their payments. We wish to inform you
that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as
you respond to this letter. Also note that from my record in my file your
outstanding contract payment is US$6,700,000.00 Six million, seven hundred
thousand united states Dollars) to be released to you for now,Please
re-confirm to me if this is online with what you have in your record and
also re-confirm to me the followings. *
*1) Your full name.
2) Phone, fax and mobile #.
3) Company name, position and address.
4) Profession, age and marital status.
5) Copy of int'l passport, drivers license, or any valid ID card. *
*As soon as this information is received, your payment will be made to you
in a Certified Bank Draft from Central Bank of Nigeria within the next 48
*Yours truly, *
*DR.JUBRIL BELLO *
Reply- to:email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
REMMITTANCE DEPARTMENT(CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA*