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:
- "to your nominated 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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "international remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms. Mary Chukwu" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 16:15:47 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Did you authorize Mr. Louis Henrik
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA
Registered No: 1026167
Address: 32 SAPELA RD
Attn:Sir/madamDid you authorize Mr. Louis Henrik who presented document of claim purported to have been signed by you for the release of your part-payment beneficiary Funds settlement of seven million five hundred thousand United States Dollars ($7.5million) only, which have been made and sealed for your transfer? Why this, because the Fund Certificate was credited to you, hence this later development of Mr. Louis Henrik? Ensure that you do not delay to get back soonest as this calls for urgent and cogent attention to avoid misappropriation, misconception and misconstrue in CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA, beneficiary's financial transfer record.If you did not give any Power of attorney or Authorization to the said Mr. Louis Henrik for claim of your fund, please reconfirm immediately to avoid banking irregularities, as your fund is now ready to be transferred (based on the urgent instructions from the Committee of Foreign Contractor Payments Board under the
control of the Presidential office). In summary to your fund transfer contact the United Bank For Africa International Remittance Department for your fund release, while taking note to complete the under listed:
Fill the information required below and send it to: email@example.comMrs. Tony Nnekwu
The Executive Director
United Bank for Africa.
Foreign Remittance Dept.1) Your full Name :.............
2) Residential address:......
3) Direct Cell-Phone/Mobile ..............
4) Age and marital status:.........
5) Company Name and Position if any ...........
6) E-MAIL:................As soon as this information is received, your payment will be made to you in an online transfer to be wired to your nominated bank account. You are advice to contact the Foreign Department immediately. Your contract Ref. No. is INT/LAG/US/NIG/012 This fund is in line with the Federal Policy for release of all outstanding payment beneficiary due for payment as directed by the new Bank PresidentBest RegardsMs. Mary Chukwu
Foreign Settlement Department Manager