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:
- "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)
- "international remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. James Botang" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2011 17:52:58 -0500
Subject: Re: From James Botang
I am delighted to contact you on a private note based on your claim to your fund, which has been programmed for transfer into your designated bank account through my department.I am hereby apologizing to you for the delay in releasing this fund into your account, which was caused by me because of breach of agreement by your so called partners in Nigeria who introduced you into the business.
Your Nigerian partners approached me that they wanted to present you as a beneficiary of this fund as it was an OVER-INVOICING made on inheritance contract claim awarded to foreign firms. So after the negotiation, we unanimously agreed that they (your partners) would give me the sum of US$200,000.00 (CASH) on my acceptance to assist them to transfer the fund into your account. When I accepted the offer,they forwarded all your banking particulars to me for onward transfer.
As soon as I made some fruitful effort on the business and demanded my US$200,000.00 as agreed, your partners deviated from the agreement and
decided to go through the International Remittance Department at my back and make a change of your bank account in other to disappoint me and you also not knowing that the International remittance Department is also under my control. Then I got the knowledge of their evil plans and prove their illicit efforts abortive. That is why for sometimes you have been pursing this payment, spending unnecessary funds to some fraudulent individuals in Nigeria who claimed to be in charge to release your fund.
I want to re-emphasis to you that your fund is floating and under my Control. Now with my whole heart I want to enter into real business with you on a sincere agreement since your partners have disappointed me and the fund is still floating in your name waiting for a proper documentation and claim.
1. On an agreement, I assure you that I am going to transfer this fund into your account.
2. You will assure me of keeping my dealings with you to an utmost secrecy because of my position.
3. You will promise to give me 20% of the total fund as soon as the fund gets into your account
4.I will assist you in making a proper documentation to make your claim genuine as a bonafide foreign beneficiary to the said fund.
I am aware that some fraudulent individuals has been impersonating my name and office to contact you and other contractors as reported by the Central Bank of Nigeria authorities. I advised you that henceforth,you should suspend any dealings from any group of person(s) either from the CBN or any other financial institution / parastatals in Nigeria or overseas that might be contacting you in this purpose and endeavour to keep this information confidential until we finalize this transaction.
Also on no account must you contact these your partners any more, this is for my own safety and for the security of the fund because they will not stop at any length to getting this fund. And no account must you let them know of my contact with you.
Mr. James Botang
Director, Tested Computerization Foreign Transfer Unit