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:
- 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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "transfer into your 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 14:08:18 +0100
Subject: Behold your fund transfer has been placed on hold/Do get back to us
ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONEY LAUNDRY CRIMES DIVISION
FBI HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING 935
PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON,
ATTENTION FUND BENEFICIARY.
This Is An Official Advice From The FBI, Foreign Remittance/Telegraphic Dept.
(FRTD), It Has Come To Our Notice That The ADB (African Development Bank) And
C.B.N (Central Bank Of Nigeria) Africa Has Released Your Part Of
Inheritance/Contract Payment Of 10,500,000.00 U.S Dollars Into Bank Of America
In Your Name As The Beneficiary.
The Bank In Africa Knowing Fully Well That They Do Not Have Enough Facilities To
Effect This Payment From Europe To Your Account, Used What We Know As A Secret
Diplomatic Transit Payment S.T.D.P To Pay This Fund Through Wire Transfer. They
Are Still Waiting For Final Confirmation From You On The Already Transferred
Funds, To Enable Them Crediting Into Your Account Accordingly. Secret Diplomatic
Transfer Payment Are Normally Funds Related To Drug/Terrorist And Money Laundry
System Of Payment, Why Must Your Payment Be Made In Such Secret Transfer , If
Your Transaction Is Legitimate And Not Related To Drug/Terrorist And Money
Laundry, Why Can't The Bank In Africa Via Europe Effect Direct Transfer Into
Your Account Than Secret Diplomatic Payment Transfer.
Due To The Increased Difficulties And Unnecessary Scrutiny By The American
Authorities When Funds Come From Through Such Payment Process From Europe,
Africa And Middle East, Based On The Records We Had In The Past Always
Identified Such Method Of Payment As Drug/ Terrorist/Money Laundry Funds, To
Avoid Problem With The Us Government As Soon As These Funds Reflect In Your
Account In The U.S.A, It Is Our Mandatory Obligations To Ascertain The
Documentation And Certification Of This Funds Before The Final Crediting Into
We Advice You Contact Us Immediately, As The Funds Have Been Stopped And Held In
Our Custody Pending When You Were Able To Provide Us With A Diplomatic Immunity
Seal Of Transfer (Dist) Within 3 Days From The United Nation International Fund
Monitory Unit (UNIFMU) That Authorize The Transfer And Certified That The Funds
Originated From Africa And Middle East Is Free From Terrorist/Drug And Money
Laundry Or We Shall Confiscate The Payment. We Will Allow The Funds To Be
Release Into Your Account Immediately You Make Provision The Required Document.
You Will Be Directed Where And How To Get The Document If It Is Not In Your
ROBERT S. MUELLER III