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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "lagos" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Joseph Sanusi" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 23:01:43 -0400
Subject: AFTER A SERIOUS THOUGHT.
DR. JOSEPH SANUSI
PLOT 25,SUITE 2B C.B.N ESTATE
SATELLITE TOWN LAGOS.
AFTER A SERIOUS THOUGHT, I DECIDED TO REACH YOU DIRECTLY AND PERSONALLY
BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST YOU, BUT YOUR NIGERIAN PARTNERS. I
AM THE DIRECTOR OF WIRE TRANSFER/TELEX DEPARTMENT OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF
NIGERIA, SOME TIME IN THE PAST YOUR NIGERIAN PARTNERS APPROACHED ME
THROUGH A FRIEND OF MINE WHO WORKS WITH ONE OF THE MINISTRIES HERE AND
REQUESTED THAT I ASSIST THEM CONCLUDE A MONEY TRANSFER DEAL.THEY GAVE ME
YOUR NAME, AND BANK PARTICULARS AND TOLD ME TO PUT THEM INTO OUR COMPUTING
SYSTEM IN THE LAB SO THAT IT WILL APPEAR AS IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE GENUINE
BENEFICIARY THAT HAVE BEEN CLEARED FOR PAYMENT. ACCORDING TO THEM, THEY
WANTED TO USE THI STRATEGY TO TRANSFER A HUGE AMOUNT OF UNITED STATES
DOLLARS WHICH THEY ACCUMULATED INHERITANCE FUNDS AND THE MONEY HAS BEEN
FLOATING IN THE CBN SINCE THEN ON YOUR NAME.
WE AGREED THAT ONCE I DO THIS, THEY WOULD GIVE ME S$100,000.00 AND GIVE ME
ANOTHER US$100,000.00 WHEN I RELEASE THE FUND TO YOUR ACCOUNT. WHEN THEY
SAW THAT I HAVE DONE IT AND YOUR NAME HAS BEEN APPROVED AMONG THE LIST OF
THOSE TO BE PAID, INSTEAD OF GIVING ME THE AGREED DEPOSIT OF
US$100,000.00, THEY STARTED AVOIDING ME AND RESORTED TO THREATS. I
IMMEDIATELY DELETED THE TRANSFER CODE OF THE FUND, WHICH IS ONLY KNOWN TO
ME BECAUSE OF MY POSITION, AND RELEASED OTHER CONTRACTORS FUND WITHOUT
YOURS. THEY BECAME ANGRY THE MORE WHEN THEY SAW THAT THEIR THREAT DID NOT
WORK, AND STARTED BRIBING OTHER OFFICIALS TO GET ANOTHER APPROVAL TO
TRANSFER THE MONEY TO YOU WITHOUT SUCCESS.
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I AM 100% RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DELAY AND
OBSTRUCTIONS BECAUSE OF THEIR BREACH OF CONTRACT. IF YOU DOUBT WHAT I HAVE
JUST TOLD YOU, PAY ANY AMOUNT THEY WILL ASK YOU TO PAY NOW, AFTER A SHORT
TIME THEY WILL COME UP WITH ANOTHER REASON TO PAY AGAIN AND IT GOES ON AND
ON. THEY ARE SIMPLY WICKED. NOW IF YOU WANT US TO WORK TOGETHER, THESE ARE
I. I WILL HAVE 20% OF THE MONEY BECAUSE IT IS ONLY THE TWO OF US LEFT FOR
II. YOU WILL ASSIST MY SON TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT IN YOUR COUNTRY OR ANY OTHER
PLACE OF MY CHOICE WHERE I WILL PAY IN MY OWN SHARE.
III. AS YOU CAN SEE, IT WILL BE USELESS AND MERE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY
IF YOU CONTINUE WITH ANY OTHER PERSON, SO WE WILL CONCLUDE THIS
TRANSACTION WITH UTMOST SECRECY.
IV. YOU WILL PROVIDE ME WITH YOUR PRIVATE TELEPHONE, MOBILE AND FAX
NUMBERS AS WELL AS YOUR EMAIL I.D. (IF ANY) TO FACILITATE EASY
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND I ONLY. IF THESE CONDITIONS ARE ACCEPTABLE
TO YOU, CONTACT ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO LET US FINALIZE, SO THAT THE
FUNDS CAN BE RELEASED TO YOUR ACCOUNT AFTER DUE PROTOCOLS HAS BEEN
BUT IF YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED, I ADVICE YOU TO FORGET THE FUND AND STOP
WAISTING YOUR TIME WITH YOUR SO CALLED PARTNERS.
DR. JOSEPH SANUSI