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:
- "outstanding contractors" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "dr. sanusi" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "executive governor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2013 20:49:54 +0200
Subject: PAYMENT INSTRUCTION!!
Dr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (CBN)
PLEASE TREAT VERY URGENT AND CARE
ATTN :HONORABLE BENEFICIARY
Our records of outstanding contractors due for payment, with the federal government of Nigeria, Your name was discovered as next on the Mr. Lamido Sanusi, The new executive governor central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN)
Firstly, I plead on behalf of my country and the Central Bank of Nigeria for not contacting you all this while as regards your contract payment, which I know by now, must have cost you some inconveniences, I am promising you on behalf of the central bank of Nigeria that this will not repeat itself any more.
I want you to know that your payment is valid and maintained with us here. I have ensured that you receive your fund through an international certified bank draft OR through Diplomatic Courier Service, acceptable and payable to you. I advice you to co-operate with me and listen to my advice as the Central Bank of Nigeria (cbn) will not be held responsible for any lapses or mis-direction of your fund due to your inability to co-operate with me who is in-charge as the new elected executive governor of the central bank of Nigeria (CBN).
I can not vividly explain how this payment was generated / occurred to you, but i was informed before I resumed my humble office in this month of June 2009 that a contract with the federal government was executed in your favor by a foreign contractor, who at the point of execution did not receive his payments. Coupled with the fact that the computer departments of the central bank was burnt down some months ago before I resumed this humble office, and all available information's as regards your information's that was dropped by the foreign contractor was missing as well.
when we were able to trace burnt files we were only left with your email address which I cannot see clearly. When this payment notification was forwarded to my humble office, I decided to contact you for immediate payment in an international certified bank draft, OR through Diplomatic Courier Service to your Door step.
I wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter. Also note that from the record in my file your outstanding contract payment is $10 million united states dollars only (Ten million united states dollars only). Please re-confirm to me if this is inline with what you have in your record and also re-confirm to me the followings.
I want you to send your information to me immediately.
Your Full Name:
Your Complete Address (Physical Address with Zip Code not
Name of City of Residence:
Working Identity Card/Passport
Direct Telephone Number...
As soon as this information's are received, your payment will be made to you in a certified bank draft OR through Diplomatic Courier Service to your Door step.
You must get back to me immediately as soon as you go through this mail.
Please follow all the directives carefully and we will smile at the end of this transaction
Awaiting to hear from you.
Dr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN)