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:
- "cost of transfer" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC." <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 15:48:19 +0200 (CAT)
Subject: FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC
MR JOHN ABOH
FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC
35 Marina P. O. Box 5216,
This letter is written to you in order to change your life from today. I
am Mr. John Aboh the Director, International Remittance Department of this
Bank, my Boss, Mr. Jacobs M. Ajekigbe, the Managing Director/CEO of this
bank is now on compulsory leave and all power have been vested on me to
make all international payments.
Also, due to reported cases of corrupt practices in other Nigeria Banks
including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Federal Government has
revoked/cancelled all power vested on those banks and has appointed our
bank (First Bank of Nigeria) to make all foreign payments.
Be informed that the Federal Government have approved the release of
part-payment of$7.5M(Seven Millon Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) out of
your total funds, which has been in this bank for many years unclaimed
because my boss Mr. Jacobs Ajekigbe, collaboration with the Governor of
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have refused to tell you the truth on how to
claim your fund this is because he has been using the interest accumulated
from your fund every year to enrich himself without your knowledge.
I want to help you pull out this fund to your bank account using the
easiest and the quickest method, which have not been made known to you
before. By this method, you will open a domiciliary account with this bank
(First Bank of Nigeria), your fund would be lodged into this domiciliary
account and your fund will be paid in directly to any bank of your choice.
After the transfer, you will confirm the fund in your bank account within
5hours the same day. No Cost of Transfer (COT) and no stoppage from any
Government departments as the transfer will be done within the bank alone
and it is very safe.
The method which was introduced to you before is the Telegraphic Transfer
(TT) for which confirmation was 48hrs, because of the time factor,
petitions could come from various organizations stopping your payment and
asking you to pay huge fee which would be difficult for you to pay so that
they can benefit from the huge interest your fund generates while still in
This method is not safe for you because it is not done within the bank
alone as information of the payment would be sent to the Central Control
Unit (CCU) of the Federal Ministry of Finance and office of the Accountant
General of the Federation.
As a good Christian, I have nothing to gain by keeping your fund, I want
to assist you receive your fund before my boss resumes office. You have to
follow up and work with me now, so keep this very confidential because of
fraudsters and impostors who go about presenting various bank accounts in
order to divert another beneficiary's fund.
your present/valid account co-ordinates and amount to be claimed so that I
do not transfer your fund to the wrong Bank Account
Awaiting your quick response.
Mr. John Aboh