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:
- 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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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 next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Dr Kingsley Moghalu" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2015 15:21:06 -0700
Subject: RE:YOUR FUND TRANSAFER NOTICE.
International Remittance Department,
Central Bank of Nigeria,
Fund code: 001722147/CBN/7537/2015.
PAYMENT NOTIFICATION OF YOUR FUNDS.
This letter may come to you as a surprise. However, I will like to introduce myself formally as Mr.Kingsley Moghalu. The payment co-ordinatior Central Bank Of Nigeria,You are been officially contacted by me today because your Inheritance Funds were Re-deposited into the "Federal Suspense Account" of CBN last week, because you did not Claim your funds as the Rightful beneficiary in our Corresponding bank.
This morning at about (9:00am Standard Pacific Time), I was alerted by my Secretary that Three men were at my Office Reception waiting to see me and so I asked my Secretary to let them in.
To my surprise they were two Canadians and one Nigerian Attorney, and they introduced themselves as (Mr. Tim Parker, Mr. Roland Gulf, both from Canada) and accompanied with them was a Nigerian Attorney with the name (Barrister Okoya Williams).
Really these men were unexpected by me because their visit was impromptu.
I had to ask them why they came to see me in person and they said that they were here to claim the Inheritance Bill Sum of US$15,000,000:00) which rightfully belongs to you, on your behalf. These foreigners actually claimed this beyond reasonable doubts.
At this development I asked them who authorized them to come down to Nigeria for the claim of this Payment and they told me you authorized them to come and claim this Funds on your Behalf. Infant this was the biggest shock that this Bank have ever received so far because your Inheritance Funds is still in the "Federal Suspense Account" of CBN, yet you sent these men to come and claim this Funds on your behalf without notifying us.
They actually tendered some Vital Documents which Proved that you actually sent them for the Collection of this Funds. Honestly, it really baffles me that you took such decision without my consent.
Here are the Document which they tendered to this Bank today:
1. LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION.
2. HIGH COURT INJECTION.
3. ORDER TO RELEASE.
Actually, these Documents which they tendered to this Noble Bank is a clear Proof that you sent them to Collect this Funds for you. Finally, I told them to come back by Monday morning and they promised to come back.
Kindly re-confirm to me the following information:
1. Your full name and residential address
2. Phone,fax and mobile number
3. company name, position and address
4. Marital status and a copy of your identification (either passport or
As the payment co-ordinator to this Noble Bank, I was supposed to Release this Funds to them but I refused to do so because I wanted to hear from you first. Due to the Nature of my job, I will not want to make any mistake in Releasing this Funds to anyone except you whom is the Recognized as the Beneficiary to this Funds.
Kindly clarify us on this issue before we make this Payment to these foreigners whom came on your behalf.
In receipt of this confidential Letter, you are required to call this Bank immediately you receive this Confidential Letter.
You are to view my international passport attached below.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Central Bank of Nigeria.