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:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Central Bank of Nigeria" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 10:40:54 +0100
Subject: ATTENTION: BENEFICIARY
REF: RELEASE OF YOUR OVERDUE FUNDS VIA SWIFT TELEGRAPHIC WIRE TRANSFER
I am Dr. Kingsley Moghalu. The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in charge of the Financial Sector Surveillance (FSS) Directorate. My nomination as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria was confirmed by the Senate on January 27, 2011. By virtue of my position as the Deputy Governor of the CBN, I have been mandated by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) to instruct effect the immediate release of your funds via swift telegraphic wire transfer directly into your bank account.
However, the President (Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) has compulsorily mandated that all fund beneficiaries must obtain a "Presidential Waiver Clearance", so that all fees associated with your fund transfer can be waived. Hence, the official fee required to obtain the "Presidential Waiver Clearance" as affixed by the President is $95.00 dollars. Therefore, you are requested to secure and send the $95.00 dollars via Western Union with the understated wiring details:
Send the Payment Through:Western Union Money Transfer
Destination: Lagos - Nigeria
Receiver's Name: emenyeoun augustine
Test Question: What For
Amount: $95.00 dollars
Dr. Kingsley Moghalu
Deputy Governor, Financial Sector Stability
Central Bank of Nigeria