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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "million united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "robert mueller" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real FBI will not tell you to contact some email address. If you are in any doubt, contact an FBI field office via www.fbi.gov. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: LETTER FROM F B I <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 23:20:49 +0100
Subject: F.B.I Important Notification (Must Read)
*FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.* *Federal Bureau of Investigation*
*J. Edgar Hoover Building* *935 Pennsylvania Avenue,* *NW Washington,
*ATTN: Beneficiary of Fund *
This is to officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we
have thoroughly completed an investigation with the help of our
Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you legally and IMF that you
are the real owner of the approved fund and after going through all the
transaction details we discovered that you are not going to have the fund
through ATM Master Card or Certified Bank Draft but through Wire Transfer
which cannot stay more than three bank working days to confirm into your
You are entitled to receive the sum of $10.5 Million Dollars after
consideration by the IMF after all you have lost in the past and you are to
receive this fund of $10.5 Million United State Dollars as a way to
compensate you for all your ordeal, so you are to make direct contact with
the central Bank of Nigeria where your fund is deposited bearing in mind
that no local bank has right over any countries Central Bank in Making an
We have completed this investigation and you are hereby approved that you
receive Fund as we have verified the entire transaction to be Safe and 100%
risk free, due to the fact that the funds have been deposited at Central
Bank of Nigeria you will be required obtain directly from the Central Bank
of Nigeria the following Documents directly from Nigeria. According to our
discoveries, you were required to pay for the following these documents
only which they confirmed that it will cost you $105 Dollars for the two
Below are the documents you are required to ask the Central bank to procure
on your behalf before they will make your transfer into your Designated
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Certificate.(Nigeria Government will
International Deposit Insurance certificate. (IMF will Issue).
In order to proceed with this transaction, you will be required to contact
the head of operation in-charge of your transfer (*MRS. HILDA NWOKE*) via
e-mail. Kindly look below to find appropriate contact information:
*CONTACT AGENT NAME: MRS. HILDA NWOKE*
*E-MAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com*
*Phone:+234 80 55444 772 *
You will be required to e-mail HER with the following information:
*FULL NAME:* *ADDRESS:* *IDENTITY CARD (ANY):* *BANK DETAILS TO RECEIVE
THE FUND:* *DIRECT CONTACT NUMBER**:*
You will also be required to request the details on how to send the
required $105 in order to immediately transfer your fund to you
immediately, please confirm this* Reference Identification number to the
central bank for them to give you attention*: EA2948-910.
This letter will serve as proof that the *Federal Bureau Of
Investigation*is authorizing you to pay the required $105 ONLY to Mrs
Hilda Nwoke via
information in which she shall send to you, if you do not receive your
approved fund of $10.5 Million we shall be held responsible for the lost
and this shall invite a penalty of $3,000 which will be made PAYABLE ONLY
to you (The Beneficiary).
Please find below an authorized signature which has been signed by the * FBI
Public Affairs Director* - Robert Mueller
[image: NSB Seal] *Robert Mueller* Public Affairs Director - *FBI*. *NSB
*NOTE*: In order to ensure rapid response for the Fund won, contact Mrs.
Hilda Nwoke as soon as possible providing the required information needed
from you above