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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transfer of your funds" (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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "www.cenbank.org" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 16 May 2012 17:38:50 -0700
Subject: PLEASE CONFIRM TO US IMMEDIATELY.
>From The Desk Of Dr. Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
Our Ref: FGN/CBN/NIG/05/2012
Tel:+234 702 529 7937
Fax:+234 702 500 7930
We apologize for the delay of your payment and all the inconveniences that we might have inflict you through. However, we wish to re-affirm the below irregularities from you before proceeding on effecting the transfer of your payment to the new account.
Did you by any means authorized one James Durward Gilliard, Managing Director, (G & T Enterprises, LLC) 948 Myrtle Court Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464, USA for a change of Bank account for onward transfer of your funds on your behalf?
PLEASE CONFIRM URGENTLY,FOR IMMEDIATE TRANSFER INTO THIS ACCOUNT TO AVOID FURTHER STATUTORY ANOMALIES.THE ACCOUNT OWNER (JAMES D. GILLIARD) CLAIMED TO BE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND SENT THE BELOW ACCOUNT STATEMENT ON YOUR BEHALF THAT YOU ARE IN A SICK BED, HENCE AUTHORIZED US TO TRANSFER OVER-DUE OUTSTANDING PAYMENT TO THIS NOMINATED US BANK ACCOUNT AS STATED BELOW:
721 LOCUST STREET
ST, LOUIS, MO 63101 USA.
Account Beneficiary: JAMES D. GILLIARD.
ABA Routing Number: 081000210
INTL SWIFT CODE: USBKUS44IMT
Account No: 1001086162
Local Branch Phone: 843-971-1996
If yes, you will need to provide us with the POWER OF ATTORNEY to this effect formally authorizing someone to change your account details for the transfer and also note that your inability to reconfirm to us and report immediately upon the receipt of this letter would be recall that you actually empowered him to claim your funds and we will not hesitate to effect transfer of the payment to the above Bank account within 78 hours as we will not be held for any shortcoming thereafter.
So you are hereby advice to act accordingly in reporting to this office for immediate verification and confirmation before our proceedings.
Thanks for your cordial co-operation and understanding as we look forward to your urgent confirmation.
Central Bank of Nigeria
Mallam Lamido Sanusi
Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)