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:
- "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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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.
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 04:46:11 -0000 (GMT)
Subject: FOR YOUR URGENT ATTENTION
My name is Dr. Bamanga Bugaji and I am mailing you from England where I am
working as the director of the Nigerian Petroleum and Pipeline Marketing Board
We represent the interest of our country, Nigeria in the International Petroleum
Exchange (IPE) which is based here in London.
I urge you to understand the sincere, confidential and urgent nature of this
email. I really need to work with you to achieve this business that would
immensely benefit the both of us.
I have US$26.8M (Twenty-Six Million, and Eight Hundred Thousand United States
Dollars), which I accumulated by under-invoicing of Petroleum exports to
The US$26.8M is currently in our (NPPMB) account with the Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN). I want to process and transfer this fund out immediately into
It would be processed, released and transferred to you as a due and legal
payment for a consultancy service or contract you did for the NPPMB some time
This would make it very legal and effective.
I have my sources in the relevant government offices to raise some very
important backdated contract documents which would be submitted to the CBN to
get them to process and release the fund without delay.
These would be genuine government issued documents and would be registered and
filed in the relevant departments of government for authenticity.
I would also hire an Attorney who would handle this process of submitting the
documents with the CBN and following it up till the fund is processed and
transferred to the account you would provide.
I want you to be rest assured that I have a secure and foolproof arrangement to
handle this project perfectly.
I am the director of the NPPMB, so I would be on top of the situation at all
times to pull the necessary strings to ensure safe and timely conclusion of the
Please note that your gender or occupation does not matter at all.
We only need 10 working days to conclude this project.
Let us be clear on this: When the US$26.8M is transferred into your account,
your share would be 20% of the total amount. The remaining 80% shall be for me.
Send me your:
1. Your full name
2. Name and address of your company
3. Your private telephone and fax numbers for easy communication.
4. Photocopy of the name page of your international passport.
Those are all the information I need to adjust our records and files to include
you as one of our registered foreign contractors and consultants. Then the fund
is smoothly processed transferred into the account you would be required to
I urge that you treat this information as strictly confidential for obvious
reasons as you know I am still in Government service. On no condition must the
content of this email be discussed with a third person. It is strictly and
confidentially between you and me.
I wait in anticipation of your fullest co-operation as I look forward to a
healthy business relationship with you now and in future.
Dr. Bamanga Bugaji
Nigerian Petroleum and Pipeline Marketing Board (NPPMB)
4/3, International (IPE) House,
1 St. Katharines Way, London,
E1W 9UY, England.
Tel/Fax: (+44) 8447743034
Cell Phone: (+44) 7031854790