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. )
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "AMBASSADOR JAMES F. ENTWISTLE" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2015 01:14:42 +0300
Subject: U.S AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA
U.S AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA
PLOT 1075 DIPLOMATIC DRIVE
CENTRAL DISTRICT AREA, ABUJA
PHONE: PHONE: +234-8182829207
DEAR: SIR/ MADAM,
AFTER AN OFFICIAL MEETING HELD WITH THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA AND
MINISTER OF FINANCE CONCERNING UNPAID AND UNCLAIMED FUNDS TO FOREIGN
BENEFICIARIES,JUST LIKE YOU.I WAS VERY MUCH ANNOYED WHEN I FOUND OUT
THAT YOU PAID MUCH MONEY YET YOU NEVER RECEIVE YOUR FUNDS.THAT IS WHY
I DECIDED TO HELP YOU.
I SHALL BE COMING TO YOUR COUNTRY FOR AN OFFICIAL MEETING AND I WILL
BE BRINGING YOUR FUNDS OF $2.7milion USD. ALONG WITH ME THROUGH UNITED
STATES DIPLOMATIC MISSION TO YOUR COUNTRY.BUT THIS TIME I WILL NOT GO
THROUGH CUSTOMS BECAUSE AS AN USA AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA, I AM A USA
GOVERNMENT AGENT AND I HAVE THE VOTE POWER TO GO THROUGH CUSTOMS.JUST
LIKE I HELPED R. BLACKWALL IN ERLANGER, KY
USA AND OTHERS RECEIVED HIS FUNDS THROUGH FEDEX DELIVERY SERVICE THIS
YEAR 2015. TRACK THE BELOW AND SEE IT YOURSELF:
Tracking No: 628702131974
Tracking No: 626836538338
Tracking No: 618255167286
Tracking No: 805745115302
MAKE SURE YOU TRACK IT FIRST.AND AS SOON AS I AM THROUGH WITH THE
MEETING I SHALL THEN PROCEED TO YOUR HOME..(SEND YOUR INFORMATION:
1. YOUR FULL NAME
2. CELL PHONE NUMBER
3. ADDRESS WHERE YOU WANT ME TO BRING THE PACKAGE).
YOU HAVE REALLY PAID SO MUCH IN THAT TRANSACTION THAT MAKES ME
WONDER. YOU ARE A VERY LUCKY PERSON BECAUSE I SHALL BE BRINGING IT
MYSELF AND THERE IS NOTHING ANYONE CAN DO ABOUT IT.YOUR PACKAGE
($2.7milion USD,) MUST BE REGISTERED AS AN AMBASSADORIAL PACKAGE FOR
ME TO DEFEAT ALL ODDS AND THE COST OF REGISTERING IT IS $175.THE FEE
MUST BE PAID IN THE NEXT 50 HOURS VIA WESTERN UNION SO THAT ALL
NECESSARY ARRANGEMENT CAN BE MADE BEFORE TIME WILL BE AGAINST US.
SEND THE FEE VIA MONEY GRAM OR WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER AND
THROUGH THE CASHIER NNALUE SOLOMON CHIGOZIE.
1.RECEIVER'S NAME: NNALUE SOLOMON CHIGOZIE
2.ADDRESS: LAGOS / NIGERIA
3.TEXT QUESTION: IN GOD?
AS SOON AS YOU SEND THE FEE MAKE SURE YOU SEND ME THE PAYMENT
INFORMATION.I SHALL MOVE MY FLIGHT SCHEDULE TO YOU.PLEASE GO THROUGH
MY WEBSITE AND READ BIOGRAPHY:
MY FLIGHT IS THURSDAY AND I EXPECT YOU TO COMPLY BEFORE THEN SO THAT
THE DELIVERY CAN BE COMPLETED. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY, THEN IT WILL NOT
BE MY FAULT IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR PACKAGE EMAIL ME AT:(
U.S AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA
AMBASSADOR JAMES F. ENTWISTLE