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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Godwin Emefiele" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2014 06:45:38 +0100
Subject: Read and Reply
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR,
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN),
LAGOS - NIGERIA.
DIRECT LINE 234-80838-35935
RE: DELAYED PAYMENT..
A team of Auditors set up by the Presidency, Foreign Contract Payment
commission has discovered an outstanding payment due to you by one of the
banks here and has reported it to our bank for immediate action. Our bank
has called for reasons for non-payment and was informed that you were
unable to pay the statutory charges, and that there are counter claims on
this same money.
Presently there are two different interest groups known to be lobbying for
the payment of this money into two different accounts and we do not know
which of these groups is truly representing you. You are therefore
required to confirm to u s in reply to this mail which of the groups is
your true representative, if any.
You are also advised to be wary of anybody that promises to help you get
your money. You do not need any special assistance to receive your money,
especially now that the Presidency has restated her resolve to adhere
strictly to the mode of payment stipulated in the Anti Corruption Bill
There will be no incredible and unofficial methods of payment in this
case. The system of settling debts in Nigeria is the same as in your
country and anywhere in the world. We oblige you to suspend any legal
action you have considered taking against the bank or individual/s or the
Government of Nigeria because of the delay. Answering the following
questions will help our bank to facilitate your payment:
1. What problem are you having in receiving your money?
2. Do you owe any Bank, company, persons, or group of persons in
clarificat ion from the undermentioned officer before contacting any other
office or person in this matter. Note that your local representative/s may
not be welcomed by our bank to avoid further complications.
While thanking you for your endurance till now, we promise to fulfill our
part as early as
we get your respond to this letter and also take the right steps.
Mr. Godwin Emefiele
For the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)