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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "dr. sanusi" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "executive governor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Outblaze.com, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- plaza, 8th floor new york, ny10020 contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org contact person: dr. wayne smith direct phone: (Accountant; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "CONTRACT REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 29 May 2010 20:46:43 -0700
Subject: CONTACT THE BRANCH MANAGER UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA FOR THE RELEASE OF YOUR FUNDS (US$14.7 MILLION DOL
FROM THE DESK OF
DR. SANUSI LAMIDO
THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
CBN COMPLEX, GARIKI ABUJA, NIGERIA
CONTACT THE BRANCH MANAGER UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA FOR THE RELEASE OF YOUR FUNDS (US$14.7 MILLION DOLLARS).
Due to the high rate of fraudulent activities going on in the country since the past few years. I the executive Governor of Central bank of Nigeria Dr. Lamido Sanusi have decided to transfer your funds of US$14.7 Million dollars to our paying bank in New York United States of America.
You are hereby requested to contact the branch Manager of United Bank for Africa (UBA) New York No. 1 ROCKEFELLER PLAZA, 8TH FLOOR NEW YORK, NY10020. Dr. Wayne Smith.
You have to provide the below information for verification to avoid paying your funds to the wrong person.
1. Your full name: .......................
2. Your Residential Address: ......................
3. Age, date of birth and gender: ...........
4. Occupation: .......................
5. Telephone number & mobile number: ...................
6. Home Telephone: .......................
7. Office Telephone: ......................
6. Copy of your identification: ......................
you are to submit your information to our paying bank below:
BANK NAME: UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA NEW YORK
ADDRESS: 1 ROCKEFELLER PLAZA, 8TH FLOOR NEW YORK, NY10020
CONTACT EMAIL: email@example.com
CONTACT PERSON: DR. WAYNE SMITH
DIRECT PHONE: 347-602-4573
You are to forward your response to DR. WAYNE SMITH for him to let you know how and when you are going to receive your fund without any further delay. Call him with this telephone number (347-602-4573) and explain to him on how you want to receive your fund immediately so that they will proceed with either transferring your funds to you or delivery it in cash to your home.
Thanks for your cooperation.
Dr. Tonye Briggs
The Executive Secretary
Dr. Sanusi Lamido
The Executive Governor
Central Bank of Nigeria