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:
- ",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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "OBAMA FOUNDATION" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "OBAMA FOUNDATION" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 10:14:16 +0100
Greetings To You,
On behalf of the OBAMA FOUNDATION and UNITED NATIONS, we wish to notify you as a beneficiary of $2,500,000,00 USD in compensation of scam victims.
This is to bring to your notice that we are delegated from the OBAMA FOUNDATION and UNITED NATIONS in CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN) to pay 10 victims of scam $2,500,000,00 USD each.
Your E-mail ID was listed and approved for this payment as one of the scam victims to be paid this amount. You are to fill the appropriate form and submit to the bank.
 Full Names :___________________________________
 Contact address :______________________________
 Direct Telephone No : _________________________
 Occupation : __________________________________
 Country : _____________________________________
Executive Director of the CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN), NIGERIA OFFICE.
Name: Mr. kenneth Obaseki Executive Director (Transaction Banking)