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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transferred into your bank account" (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 united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: "From Zenith Bank Of Nigeria" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2012 07:01:33 +0600
Subject: Attention: Attention: Attention,
Zenith Bank Of Nigeria
Opposite shop 228c Alaba
International Market Lagos Nigeria.
>From the Desk of the Manager,
Zenith Bank Of Nigeria.
Attention: Attention: Attention,
This is to notify you about this said fund.
After due vetting and evaluation of your file that was sent to us by the Nigeria
Government in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affair and Central Bank
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This bank has an instruction to see to the immediate release of the sum of
US$17,000,000.00(Seventeen Million United States Dollars Only). of your
Inheritance fund claim that has been holding since to be transferred into your
bank Account from their Domiciliary Account with this Bank.
But This day, one Mrs. Cynthia Edward, came to my office to let us know that you
are DEAD, and before your death, that you instructed her to come for the claim
of your funds in the tune of US$17, Million that was long abandoned in your name
with this bank (ZENITH BANK PLC) this is what we want to verify from you before
we make the payment to who came for the claim.
(:I) Did you authorize Mrs. Cynthia Edward to come for your claim? NO NO
(ii) Are you truly Dead OR Alive? ALIVE
If (NO) you are hereby advice as a matter of urgency to reconfirm the
details of this message within 24hours, hence your funds shall be wired
into her account without any more delay.
1. Full name:................
2. Direct telephone number:...
3. Address:.................... ..........
4. Your personal identification to enable us confirms that you are not dead.
This information's above must be provided for reconfirmation to Enable us make
payment to you, hence, your funds will be remit/wire into her account as already
provide to this management.
We wait for your urgent response today. You need to act very fast, because if
this bank wait for your urgent reply within three working days and we did not
received any message from you, you will be consider dead, and your funds will be
transfer to Mrs. Cynthia Edward.
Here is an account provide by Mrs. Cynthia Edward to this bank, are you also the
one who ask her to provide this bank account to us?
Washington Mutual Bank
2075 S. Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003
Acct. name: Mrs. Cynthia Edward.
ABA # 322271627
Acct # 1951204345
Amount: US$2, Million.
Furthermore, this bank discovered that you have been dealing with some bad eggs
officials whom SCAMED some money from you without doing the right thing, Be
advice to STOP further communication with them, your funds is now approved for
payment, follow the right procedure now.
This message demand urgent attention, the bank is waiting to hear from
you; do call this below direct number.
Mobile Direct Hot Line: (+234-8076420674)
Mr. Jim Ovia.
Head of Accounting Operations
(ZENITH BANK PLC)