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:
- "into 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)
- "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)
- "international remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001 20:20:30 -0000
THIS IS TO NOTIFY YOU THAT YOUR OVER DUE CONTRACT FUNDS HAS BEE
GAZZETED TO BE RELEASED, VIA KEY TELEX TRANSFER (KTT) -DIRECT WIRE
TRANSFER TO YOU OR THROUGH OUR OFFSHORE OFFICE BY THE SENATE
COMMITTEEFOR FOREIGN OVER DUE FUND TRANSFER.MEANWHILE, A WOMAN M/S
MILINDA WILLIS CAME TO MY OFFICE FEW DAYS AGO WITH LETTER, CLAIMING TO
BE YOUR TRUE REPRESENTATIVE. HERE ARE HER INFORMATION'S:
NAME MILINDA WILLIS
BANK NAME: CITI BANK
BANK ADDRESS: CALIFORNIA, USA.
ACCOUNT Number: 6503809428.
PLEASE,DO RECONFIRM TO THIS OFFICE ,AS A MATTER OF URGENCY IF THIS
WOMAN IS FROM YOU SO THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL NOT BEHELD
RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING INTO THE WRONG ACCOUNT NAME.
IF THIS WOMAN IS NOT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE, YOU ARE REQUESTED TO FILL
AND SEND THIS INFORMATION'S FOR VERIFICATIONS PURPOSES SO THAT YOUR
FUND VALID 17.5 MILLION DOLLARS WILL BE REMITTED INTO YOUR NOMINATED
BANK ACCOUNT THIS FUND IS AS A RESULT OF CONTRACT PAYMENT ON YOUR
1. YOUR NAME:...
2. YOUR FULL ADDRESS:..
3. YOUR TELEPHONE....
7. YOUR OCCUPATION ...............
8. YOUR VALID ACCOUNT DETAILS:............
9. A COPY OF YOUR IDENTITY............
AS SOON AS WE RECEIVE THIS, WE WILL COMMENCE WITH ALL NECESSARY
PROCEDURES IN OTHER TO REMIT THIS MONEY INTO YOUR ACCOUNT. THE
GOVERNOR,BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND THE SENATE COMMITTEE FOR FOREIGN
OVERDUE CONTRACT FUND HAVE APPROVED AND ACCREDITED THIS REPUTABLE BANK
WITH THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR,INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCE : FOREIGN
OPERATIONS,TO HANDLE AND TRANSFER ALL FOREIGN CONTRACT FUNDS THIS
FIRST QUARTER PAYMENT OF THE YEAR.
HOWEVER,WE SHALL PROCEED TO ISSUE ALL PAYMENTS DETAILS TO THE SAID
MRS.WILLIS, IF WE DO NOT HEAR FROM YOU WITHIN THE NEXT SEVEN WORKING
DAYS FROM TODAY.
WE ARE SORRY FOR ANY INCONTINENCE THE DELAY IN TRANSFERRING OF THIS
FUND MUST HAVE CAUSED YOU.
YOURS IN SERVICE,
INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT