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:
- "express courier delivery" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "transfer of your funds" (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)
- "economic and financial crimes commission" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "(efcc)" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" 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.
- +22996627047 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Ron Mills" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 04 Sep 2009 20:43:01 -0500
Subject: ECOWAS ATM PAYMENT NOTICE.
I am Mr.Ron Mills, the personal secretary to the FBI Director; Robert
S.Mueller III. After proper investigations, we discovered that your
that have been withheld by imposters, claiming to be Mr. Mr.Lamido
Sanusi (The New Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria), Mr. Patrick
Aziza, Mr. Frank
Nweke, None existing officials of the Oceanic Bank of Nigeria and
Zenith Bank, UK winning Lottery, Andy Lear of Hsbc bank, Coca-Cola
winning lottery and
among a list of others is now under our custody with the help of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Local Police
Investigations revealed that you have spent a lot on your personal
earned money just to conclude the successful transfer of your funds to
your nominated bank
account by obtaining transfer documents as requested by the imposters,
costing you a lot of money but all to no avail. The FBI had to send
crime investigators from our head quarters in Washington DC to Africa
in other to carry out proper investigation, after receiving series of
similar to yours as you are not the only person awaiting the legal
transfer of funds from Africa.The FBI in conjuction with the Ecowas in
general has giving authority to the International Monetary Funds (IMF)
to assist the Federal Ministry of Finance and all the organization
involved; such as the Central Bank, Zenith Bank, and Legit lottery
organizations to immediately commence with the compensation of all the
beneficiaries awaiting the successful transfer of their funds. With
the help of some of the best Internet investigators attached to the
FBI, we traced your information from the Internet as one of the
beneficiaries awaiting the successful transfer of funds to your
I am pleased to inform you that a meeting was held as regards the best
way to carry out with the compensation exercise for transparency and
to avoid reoccurrence of the delay in transferring your funds and the
high cost of procuring transfer documents and came to a final
conclusion as all head of
organizations involved was duly represented. It was approved to be
issued to you as a valid international ATM card cashable at any ATM
machine designation in
the world. The ATM account has already being credited with two
million, five hundred thousand United States dollars. ($2,500, 000.00
USD), with a daily Limit
of withdrawal of Ten thousand United States Dollars. ($5.000,
00USD).The ATM card has already being approved to be delivered to your
via express courier delivery service.
Contact the ATM PAYMENT CENTER and reconfirm your delivery information
as stated below and your security code with five digit (24007) number
has to be
submitted alongside with your delivery information for security reasons.
ATM PAYMENT CENTRE BENIN
CONTACT PERSON: Charles Paul
For: Mr. Robert S.Mueller III
NB: BASED ON THE FACT THAT WE DO NOT WANT ANY OFFICIAL TO TAMPER WITH
YOUR FUNDS,WE HAVE MADE IT THAT YOU THE BENEFICIARY WILL PAY FOR THE
DELIVERY OF YOUR ATM CARD TO YOU,AND AS SOON AS YOU MAKE THE FIRST
WITHDRAWAL CHARGES WILL AUTOMATICALLYBBE REFOUNDED.KINDLY ACT AS