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:
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "hundred thousand u.s 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "abuja" (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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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. Franklyn White" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:31:35 +0100
Subject: YOUR COMPENSATION PAYMENT OF US$1,500,000.00 IS READY
>From Mr. Franklyn White
Chairman Refund Payment Committee
National Assembly Abuja.
This letter is written in order to change your Life from today. Please note
that this letter came to you as a result of information received from our
monitoring network regarding so much payments which you sent through Western
Union and Money Gram to Nigeria and some other part of the World without
receiving any payment to your name, further investigation reveals that you
have lost hope towards receiving your payment after being deceived so many
As part of the Nigerian Government's Commitment to excellence, the Committee
members have been appointed by our respected President to pay all
outstanding foreign Debt such as Contract Debt, Inheritance/Next-of-Kin
Debts, Compensation Debts, Lottery Debt e.t.c, and all other Foreigner debt
owed by Nigeria Government, in order to restore good image to international
Your name and E-mail has ben selected amogst those who are entitled to
receive a whoping sum of US$1,500,000.00 ( ONE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND U.S DOLLARS) for compensation, and which will be remitted to you
via issuance of an ATM VISA CARD.
Now, in other to receive your compensation payment, you are advised to
contact authorized Bank in charge to remit your payment to you via ATM card
at the below address:
CONTACT PERSON :CHRIS LUCAS
BANK NAME: ZENITH BANK PLC
You are to contact the above bank in respect to your payment, and have the
following information listed below forwarded to them to have it to complete
processing of your card payment.
Your Full Name:
Your Home/Mobile No:
Your Home or Office Address:
Scanned copy of your I.D:
We are deeply sorry for whatsoever plight you might have been through in
trying to get your due payment in the past, and we do hope you make do with
this compensation payment for your past efforts.
Mr. Franklyn White