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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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.
- +2348037602451 (Nigeria, prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "Alhaji Dangana Usman" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2002 12:28:27 -0600
Subject: TRUTH OF THE MATTER ON YOUR PAYMENT
After waiting to hear from you or your Nigeria partners for a long time now,
I decided to make this direct approach to you in other not to let it be as if I
have anything in mind against you. I do not know if you have asked yourself
why each time the release of these funds is approved, all of a sudden, the payment
will be stopped or one problem or the other will come up. If you have not asked this
question or you do not know, this is an opportunity for me to tell you.
Some time ago, your Nigerian friend I mean the people that introduced you to the project
approached me through my dear Wife who works with the Federal Ministry of Finance and
requested me to assist them conclude a money transfer deal they had with you, they requested
me to assist them by removing the original contractors name, companys name and bank particulars
from Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) vetting computer and replacing them with your name and your
details in order to make you appear as the rightful beneficiary of this funds. I agreed on condition
that they will pay me $200,000.00 as soon as your name appears as the beneficiary. I did as agreed
and demanded to be paid but your friends started telling me stories. They even told me that you promise
to send money to me. Do you know that up till now, I have not received a single cent from them and
have not set my eyes on any of them.
Based on their attitude, I decided to stop the funds release movement because I cannot be denied of
my right in my own office considering the risk as it might affect my job. Secondly, I know the source of
the funds and you are not the original beneficiary to the funds, although I am the only person privileged
to know you are not the original beneficiary and it is a fact.
Why I am making this clear to you is that I can see that you are still making efforts spending money in order
to conclude this project. Now I am ready to forget the past, I do not need the $200,000.00 any longer from
you but a share of 35% of the total sum. I need your assurance that those your colleagues will be totally
kept out of this transaction, I know that none of them is aware of my contact to you and i will like that it
remains that way and i also know that they stopped contacting you for a while since they could not have
the money released to your bank account after all the money that you have spent. They have tried to
conclude this transaction without my consent.
Finally, I need your promise that no official of the Central bank of Nigeria will be aware of my involvement
in this regard.
Now re-assure me that you will be willing to offer me the 35% of the fund, that you will assist my wife and
personal assistant to establish a foreign account in your country where my share will be lodged.
Get back to me as soon as you get this email so that we can talk on how best to get this payment cleared
out into your account within 4 Bank working days after full paperwork is clarified.
I have told you the simple truth behind all of your misfortune and will like that you try so that we can work
this project out and if i dont hear from you, i will respect your privacy and not contact you again.
Thank you and Have a Good Day,
Alhaji Dangana Usman
Deputy Controller, Corporate Services