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:
- "anti-terrorist certificate" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "cost of transfer" (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. )
- "clearance document" (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. )
- "million dollars" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (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.
- 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: REV. JOHN HOWARD <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 10:32:15 -0500
Subject: YOUR PAYMENT UPDATE
Payment Purpose: Inheritance Payment
Payment Value: US$5,500,000.00 dollars
Authorized Paying Bank: Central Bank of Nigeria
Transaction Reference Code: CBN/KTT/27890/00453/011
Payment Approval Date: 28/1/2012
I have some pretty good news for you. The good news is that, I am the newly appointed PAYMASTER, Central Bank of Nigeria. I assumed duty as a paymaster General, Central Bank of Nigeria yesterday at the Bank's Corporate Head Office in Abuja following the confirmation of my nomination by the newly inaugurated President, Dr. Good-luck Jonathan. However, following my appointment and three hours meeting held today regarding the unpaid contract/ Inheritance fund, the out come of the meeting was youâre no longer required to pay for the COST OF TRANSFER, DRUG CERTIFICATE, and ANTI-TERRORIST CERTIFICATE. Hence, is our obligation as a Government agency to issue those documents to you at no cost. However, i assure you that all the clearance documents/certificates certifying that the source and origin of the $5.5 million dollars Part Payment programmed for transfer today is clean and clear from any financial misconduct.
However, the "clean credit report" is ready for immediate transmission via telex to your bank as the "Remittance PIN CODE number" for your transaction has been issued out and the code number is "0010-1036-7777-0000". Hence, a 'transmission fee" is being charged by the authorities to send the "clean credit report" to your bank. Please take note that the purpose of sending the "clean credit report" to your bank was to prevent identity theft, improve the resolution of consumer disputes, improve the accuracy of consumer records and finally to make improvements in the use of, and consumer access to, credit information. All these attributes are the underlying purpose for the FACT Act.
Hence, the transfer of your fund will be affected into your designated bank account within 24 hours.This is an emphatic guarantee.Hence, this requirement is most urgent and compulsory. For this reason, urgently arrange to secure and send the transmission fee as quickly as possible to enable us expedite all necessary actions on the transmission of the "MT 103 (Customer Transfer) to your bank. If you need any further clarification on this matter, please feel free to contact me at +234-80-3331-3071.
Awaiting your Urgent reply.
Rev. John Howard
NEW CBN PAYMASTER.