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)
- "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)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Nancy Martins <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 02:01:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: REF:- INSTRUCTION TO CREDIT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT $ 10,500,000.00.USD
REF:- INSTRUCTION TO CREDIT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT $USD 10,500,000.00.
This is to notify you that INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND(IMF) has final instructed CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA to credit you , your inheritance fund.
After due vetting and evaluation of your Inheritance file which The Ministry of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Forwarded and contacted us to see to your immediate payment.
>From our findings you have been going through hard ways by paying a lot of charges to see to the release of your fund ($10, 500, 000, 00) which has been delayed. We advice that you stop further communication with any Bank.
You don't have to pay any charges to receive your Inheritance fund anymore as you have met up with the whole requirements, your representatives in Nigeria will tell you to still go ahead with them but on your own risk. The only thing required from you is to obtain INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER CODE (I.T.C.). which enable us release your fund to you.
We will help you to see that you obtain the CODE so that our bank will effect immediate transfer of your Inheritance sum ($10, 500, 000, 00) in to your designated bank account. Will you follow up our directives your fund will reflect in your account within five working Bank days from the day you obtain this form.
Do not go through anybody again but through this Bank if you really want your
fund. Respond to our REMITTING DEPARTMENT of the BANK.To enable them credit
your account.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Nancy Martins
Secretary To The Director Of Foreign Operation.
For CENTRAL BANK NIGERIA