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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "chief auditor" (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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- contract payment.contract #: mav/nnpc/fgn/min/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org re:your atm card payment notification (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: MRS.DOORIS MORGAN <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2013 11:40:49 -0600
Subject: Re:Your ATM CARD Payment Notification Alert...(ATM-811) or Cash Delivery
THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
DATE: 7th Nov 2013
FROM THE DESK OF THE OFFICE OF THE
PRESIDENCY, INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
CHIEF AUDITOR TO MR PRESIDENT: Hon. (Mrs.) Doores Morgan
5th Floor, Annex 3, New Federal Secretariat Complex, Shehu Shagari
Way, Central Area
Lagos - Nigeria .
YOUR OVER DUE CONTRACT/INHERITANCE FUNDS
Our Ref: CBN/FMF/CBX/021/2000/2013.
IMMEDIATE CONTRACT PAYMENT.CONTRACT #:
Re:Your ATM CARD Payment Notification Alert...(ATM-811) or Cash Delivery
Attn: The Beneficiary
The Federal Executive meeting on economic and financial matters
resolved today with the Intercontinental bank of Nigeria Plc and
Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay all outstanding debts and
resolved to pay through the Director of Finance Minister (Mrs.Ngozi
Okonjo Iwuala) as she will give instruction by following the
international banks through our corresponded paying banks in West
African which an amount of $8.3m dollars has been approved on your
This is to officially inform you that we have verified your
contract/inheritance funds files and found out that you have not
received your approval funds the sum of $8.3 millions dollars as we
have two mode of payment.
Please be inform that the said amount have to be programmed through
ATM Master Card or Diplomatic Fund Delivery, therefore you advise to
forward your full name,address,country and direct telephone number to
Mrs.Ngozi Okonjo Iwuala and negotiate a means to dispatch the approval
Visa Master card to your house address or through diplomatic Fund
delivery to your country.
Below are the details you are advised to provide immediately and also
indicate to this office how you prefer to have your funds release to
FULL NAMES: __________________________________
DELIVERY ADDRESS FOR ATM CARD: __________________
DATE OF BIRTH: __________________
TELEPHONE NUMBER: _____________________
EMAIL ADDRESS: _____________________
contact info status below
CONTACT PERSON: MRS.NGOZI OKONJO IWUALA
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE MINISTER
Email: ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
CHIEF AUDITOR TO MR PRESIDENT