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:
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Alex Gajira" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2010 22:19:25 +0700 (ICT)
Office of the Director Foreign Operation
Federal Ministry of Finance
254, Bissau Street, off Herbert Macaulay Way,
Victoria Island Lagos Nigeria.
This is to officially inform you that an Inter-Switch ATM-Card Valued
atUS$14.5.Million only has been accredited in your favour by the Ministry
of Finance. And Your Personal Identification Number is 2443.
You are to get back immediately for claim processing.With the following
Your Personal Identification Number...
Cc: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
Cc: Federal Ministry of finance (FMF)
Cc: Nigeria National Bankers Commission (NNBC)