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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (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: "Frank Odalo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2010 21:55:47 -0700 (PDT)
Today Spam has made it very difficult for people to do genuine internet
business transaction but, those who still believed that trust is the key
to success in any business have achieved so much on the internet. This is
a reality. I really need your assistance in this business.
I am Frank Odalo, I have worked in the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Planning for 34yrs. I was posted to head the voucher department of my
Ministry since on the 1st of May 2006. My department prepares payment
vouchers for approved contracts payment for both local and foreign
In my last (3) months in my new office, I have being studying Payment
Files of my predecessors since 1994, my findings in this study is shocking
as over $300,000,000.00 has been paid out by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
to foreign Companies who never executed any contract with the Federal
Government of Nigeria.
The money where paid to different Companies account around the World as
The deal is very safe and simple, they use names of Foreign Company to
raise payment voucher to CBN that such Company executed a contract with
any Ministry, and CBN immediately pay the value of such contract to the
company nominated account.
I will retire next year when I will complete my 35yrs in service. I want
you to front for me in this same deal to transfer $7,000,000.00 to your
If you are interested, please send me the following information:
(1) Your full name
(2) Your Companys name and address
(3) Your private Phone/Fax
The above information is what I need to prepare the required documents and
raised payment voucher to the effect that your Company executed a
contract, which the $7,000,000.00 will be paid.
NO RISK IS INVOLVED. Please keep this message very confidential until the
money get to your account. I shall give you 30% of the amount as your
Please reply should be directed to: <email@example.com>
Thanks for your anticipated co-operation.