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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
- +2348066154068 (Nigeria, prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Jane Steven" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 03:11:46 -0700
Subject: CONTACT MRS JANE STEVEN FOR YOUR UNCLAIMED FUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dear Sir/Madam ,
This is to officially inform you that we have verified your Contract/Inheritance file
presently on our desk. We found out that you have not fulfilled the obligations giving to you in respect to your contract payment.
Secondly, you are hereby advised to stop dealing with some non-officials in the bank as this is an illegal act and will have to stop if you so wish to receive your payment
After the Board of director's meeting held in Abuja,we have resolved in finding a
solution to your problem. We have arranged your payment through our SWIFT PAYMENT CENTRE (UBA BANK).
This is part of an instruction/mandate passed by the Senate inrespect to overseas
contract payment and debt re-scheduling. You will be provided with access to an online
account in which your funds, Five million Unites States Dollars($5,000,000.00); will be
As soon as you have been provided with the online account details, you can login to the
banks website and then transfer your funds to your designated bank account. If you like
to receive your fund this way,
Kindly reconfirm your
(1) Your Full Name:
(2) Full residential address:
(3) Phone And Fax Number:
We shall be expecting to receive your information as you have to stop any further
communication with anybody or office aside ours.
NOTE : YOU ARE TO SEND YOUR RESPONSE TO THE E-MAIL ADDRESS BELOW,
Thank you for your co-operation.
Mrs Jane Stevens.
Contact Email: email@example.com
CC: CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
CC: SENATE PRESIDENT
CC: ALL FOREIGN PAYMENT OFFICES
CC: BOARD OF DIRECTORS [CBN]
CC: ACCOUNTANT GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION