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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "my direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "FROM THE DEBT MANAGEMENT OFFICE...DMO." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2016 09:09:41 -0700
Subject: PAYMENT REFERENCE NUMBERS,FGN/AGF/000XX110/2016...............CALL ME URGENTL.
>From The Desk Of: Dr.Abraham Nwankwo..
Managing Director/CEO,Debt Management Office
Head Office: Plot 1261, Adeola Hopewell Street,
Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
Direct Tel: 234-902-5512585...
RE: ELECTRONIC CREDIT PAYMENT REFERENCE NUMBERS,FGN/AGF/000XX110/2016...............
The Debt Management Office Nigeria...DMO.. wish to inform you that your long over Contract/Lottery/Inheritance funds have being approved for immediate release/payment to you through the Debt Management Office..DMO.. as instructed by Mr. President and Commander in Chief to my office as the Director General of the Debt Management Office after his returns from his official trip to China..as the only Federal Government Agency saddled with the responsibility of offsetting both local and foreign Debts on behalf of the Nigerian Government. Please note that amount approved for payment/release to you is the sum of USD4.5Million Only ...Four Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars. Of which your payment File have being forwarded to my office for your urgent payment as your funds administrator and note that your approved funds will be released to you through our Consolidated Oil Reserve Account with HSBC Bank in London through Federal Government Account numbers as thus;...090 - 304111 - 002...on my direct instructions to
Sequel to the above now you are urgently required to obtain a copy of your INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS BOND SEAL...IPABS....from my office as the Director General of the Debt Management Office...DMO..which will cost you only a princely sum...and as approved by the Nigerian Government Government in collaborations with the UN/IMF/WORLD BANK as the official cost for your INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS BOND SEAL...IPABS....Note that the essence of the INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS BOND SEAL...IPABS....is that it will cover your funds as genuine and legal funds devoid of illicit purposes and duly form the Nigerian Government to avoid labeling your funds as Terrorist or Drug slush funds and this INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS BOND SEAL...IPABS....is the only legally authorized Document/Certificate by the UN/World Bank/IMF hence you need no other document that will legalize your funds as genuine again your funds hits your bank account as CLEAN FUNDS..i will inform you the amount for the
Finally please advise me how you want me to release/pay your approved sum of USD4.5Million to you as the prerogative is yours as the funds beneficiary and owner. Either by KTT Bank to Bank Wire Transfer or through Issuance of a Certified Bank Draft of that amount and sum and through HSBC Bank Inter Switch ATM Card, the choice is yours to make as the funds owner hence you have to advise me of your preference for your payment which I will inform our bankers in London to release your funds to you through that means ONLY, please note that you are required to spend a dime to our bankers in London HSBC Bank prior to your payment once you have send the fees for the procurement of your INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS BOND SEAL...IPABS as I will tell you the amount and how you will send it through my office. The duty of HSBC Bank which is our bankers is to release the funds to you on my instructions as the account signatory once you have secured your INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS BOND SEAL...IPABS here wh
Urgently waiting for your response and call on my direct line as thus;...234-902-5512585... and email as thus;...email@example.com....for your payment which is ready as your payment file is on my desk now awaiting forwarding to HSBC Bank together with your INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS BOND SEAL...IPABS for your payment on my instructions ONLY as the HSBC BANK ACCOUNT SIGNATORY...
Debt Management Office(DMO).