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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "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.
- 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mercy Kalu" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2010 09:00:01 -0700
Subject: Your Payment
I am Miss Mercy Kalu, a computer scientist working with central bank
of Nigeria. just started work with C.B.N. I came across your file which
was marked X and your released disk painted RED, I took time to
study it and found out that you have paid VIRTUALLY all fees and
certificate but the fund has not been release to you.
The most annoying thing is that they cannot tell you the truths that
on no account will they ever release the fund to you, instead they
let you spend money unnecessarily. I do not intend to work here all
the days of my life, I can release this fund to you if you can certify
me of my security, and how I can run away from this Nigeria if I do
this, because if I don't run away from this country after I made the
transfer, I will be seriously in trouble and my life will be in danger.
Please you may not understand it because you are not a Nigerian.
The only thing I will need to release this fund is a special HARD DISK
we call it HD320 GIG. I will buy two of it, recopy your information,
destroy the previous one, and punch the computer to reflect in your
bank within 24 banking hours. I will clean up the tracer and destroy
your file, after which I will run away from Nigeria to meet with you.
If you are interested, do get in touch with me immediately on my
You should send to me your convenient tell/fax numbers for easy
communications and also re confirm your banking details,
so that there won't be any mistake.
Miss Mercy Kalu.