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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "international remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "UBA BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 04:32:46 -0500
Subject: VERY IMPORTANT
[OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR]
INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT,
UNITED BANK OF AFRICA,
PLOT 1662, OYIN JOLAYEMI STREET.
VICTORIA - ISLAND, LAGOS-NIGERIA
I am the GMD of United Bank For Africa (UBA) as stated on the address above, for over 15 years today a customer by name MR. Darius Baxter from USA) deposited the sum of US$15Million into his domicilary account with our bank, we have not heard anything from him neither has anybody came for these funds. The bank directors has contacted the USA embassy here in Nigeria to find out but after three weeks notice, we were informed that he was among those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attack in the USA and there is no next of kin to these funds, I am contacting you for a business proposal in other to see if you could be sincere to to assist me receives these funds as the next of kin but we will share it 50-50% each of us.
Once you indicate your interest and readiness, I will furnish you with the vital information for you to confirm from our bank but it MUST be legal as you know that I am one of the top officials in the bank. It is risk free, legal but needs much trust from you.
Contact me immediately if you are interested. Bearing in mind that I got your contact details from your countrys trade attachee in the Nigerian Chambers of commerce.