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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: THE DESK OF THE SUPREME COURT <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 07:03:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject: ATTN :VALUED BENEFICIARY,
FROM THE DESK OF :
HON. JUSTICE ALOYSIUS KATSINA-ALU(GCON)
THREE ARMS ZONE, P.M.B. 308,
GARKI -ABUJA (FCT)
ATTN :VALUED BENEFICIARY,
This is an acknowledgement to you that your name was found among the list of foreigner that have been scammed by some Nigerian Fraudster.
A total sum of ($3.5million) united state dollars in cash has been approved and set aside for your compensation by the government of Nigeria which will be delivered to you.
We have actually been authorized by the newly appointed acting president Federal Republic of Nigeria(Dr.Goodluck Jonathan) and the governing board of central bank of Nigeria to investigate the unnecessary delay of your payment, Recommended and approve your claims for payment if certified as genuine.
During the course of our investigation, we discovered with dismay that you have been scammed, From the records of outstanding claims due for payment submitted by the United Nations, your name is next on the list of the outstanding bills to be settled, I wish to inform you that your payment has been processed and will be delivered to you as soon as you respond to this letter.
Kindly re-confirm the following information to Barrister Festus Keyamo the Director of Supreme Account of Nigeria, for final verification of your details so that the funds will be shiped to you. please contact him through this email,(firstname.lastname@example.org)
1) Your full names
2) Phone number ( mobile should be included) .
3) Your contactaddress
4) Current Occupation
5) Your drivers license or (any card of identifications)
Please we demand an urgent response prior to this matter and to work with us to enable us track those Miscreants.Hence i want you to follow your fund box code below, which is given to you by the Supreme Court of Nigeria(NG29820FGN). You are to keep this code for security purposes. It is the code that you will use in opening the security sealed box when it is delivered to you.
HON. JUSTICE ALOYSIUS KATSINA-ALU(GCON)
CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA
SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA