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:
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Paul Otis" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 19:26:15 +0100
Subject: [GSN Suspected Spam] Dear Beneficiary...
I hope that this correspondence is received with the
urgency and expediency required.
It has come to the notice of the Board of Trustees at
the CBN that your present inheritance claims application
being handled by the Remmitting Bank in Nigeria is
experiencing some man made irregularities.To this effect,it has become
neccesary for the Board of Trustees to invite trained Fund Transfer
Specalists from the United States to resolve and regularize your fund
release with immediate effect.
We at Paul Otis & Associates have been duly
consulted by the CBN Board of Trustees and have been fully
informed about how the staff of the remmitting bank have been taking
advantage of you by telling you to pay unneccesarily
exhorbitant charges which will only make your fund payment a long drawn out
Due to this we have decided to step into the process
of your fund transfer to enable your funds to be transfered
within the soonest possible time you are to get back to us
immediatly without needing to pay all the huge sums of monies that are
being demanded from you by the remmitting bank.
All proccesses to have your funds paid to you
imediately through the CBN's Laison Remmittance Office
in New York have been initiated to cut out unneccesary costs.You are advised
to keep this communication highly confidential as the CBN Board of
Trustees have asked us to resolve this fund payment independent of the
office of the CBN Gorvernor to identify the the principal participants in
this unethical payment procedure.
Furthermore,you are hereby advised to pay no furtherfees
or charges to the Remmitting Bank in Nigeria as they shall
no longer be handling your payment process.
We shall await your immedite correspondence with your
direct telephone numbers for re-confirmation
so that we may conclude your payment immediately.
Paul Otis & Associates.