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:
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Federal Ministry of Finance <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2012 13:42:34 +0200
Subject: Your Payment of $6.5Million USD Approved.
Federal Ministry of Finance
Plot 33, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Way
Central Business District,
Cadastral Zone, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory,Nigeria
I wish to inform you that all matters relating to the release of your
payment is now under my control and supervision. This development has
become necessary due to the activities of unpatriotic
Government/Central bank of Nigeria officials and impostors who kept on
frustrating every effort to settle our clients by making requests for
unauthorized fees and levies from them. We sincerely apologize for any
delay you might have encountered in the past; your payment is now 100%
Guaranteed in the ongoing Compensation Program.
To this effect, the sum of $6.5Million has been approved on your
behalf. Choose from these two modes of payment (Diplomatic Cheque
Payment/ATM Card) for immediate payment.
Furthermore, you are advise to contact the Director Debt
Reconciliation Federal Ministry of Finance Mr. Adam Williams via email
for the processing of your payment with your personal information below:
Mr. Adam Williams
Director Debt Reconciliation
Direct Mobile: +234-8107364980
Fax Number: +234-803-133-9552
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: Kindly note that if you are not avers with the content of this
letter, please decline immediately as no one is under any form of
duress to comply with this information.