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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "into your nominated bank account" (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)
- "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)
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR KINGSLEY AGWOR" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2010 07:23:07 -0500
Subject: DID YOU AUTHORIZE MRS. DEBORAH WHITE JONES?
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
CADESTRAL ZONE ABUJA.
FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY.
OUR REF: CBN/IRD/CBX/021/08
CONTRACT #: MAV/NNPC/FGN/MIN/009
SWIFT CODE: BPH KPL PK.
Your Over Due Contract/Inheritance Funds.
This is to notify you that your over due contract/inheritance funds has been gazette
to be released, via key telex transfer (KTT) -direct wire transfer to you or through
any of our correspondent bank nominated by the senate committee for foreign over
due fund transfer.
Meanwhile, a woman came to my office few days ago with a letter, claiming to be
your true representative. Here are her information for you to confirm to this office if
this woman is truly from you or not so that the Federal Government will not be held
responsible for paying into the wrong account
Name: Mrs. Deborah White Jones
Bank Name: Citi Bank
Bank Address: Arizona , USA .
Account Number: 6503809428.
Please, do reconfirm to this office, as a matter of urgency if this woman is from you.
You are requested to fill and send this information for verifications purposes so that
your fund valued U.S$12.5million dollars will be remitted into your nominated bank
account as follow:
(1) Your Full Name And Address:
(2) Your Age And Marital Status:
(3) Your Occupation:
(4) Your Telephone/Fax Number:
(5) Your Nationality:
As soon as we receive the above requested information, we will commence with all
necessary procedures in other to remit your money/funds into your account.
However, we shall proceed to issue all payments details to the said Mrs. White, if
we do not hear from you within the next seven working days from today. We are
sorry for any inconvenience the delay in transferring of this fund must have caused
Get back to us immediately just as instructed. Thanks in Anticipation while we await
your prompt response.
Mr. Kingsley Agwor
Financial Secretary, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)