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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Universal Bank Plc" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 08 Jul 2016 17:18:45 +0100
Subject: THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR FUND
UNIVERSAL BANK PLC
1662 Oyin Street,
This letter is written to you in order to change your life from today. My name is Mr. David Dare. I am the Head of International Remittance Department Universal Bank Plc.
I contacted you regarding your fund totaled Six Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars ($6,500,000.00) which has been in this bank for some years unknown to you. This fund was allocated to you by the United Nation as an Unpaid Contract Fund Refund (UCFR) which the Federal Government has long approved the release of the fund to you.
You are not aware of this fund because the former Head of International Remittance Department Mr. Michael Akigbe hid it from you. He refused to contact you and tell you the truth on how to claim your fund because he has been using the interest accumulated from your fund every year to enrich himself without your knowledge. I also discovered that Mr. Michael Akigbe stated boldly in your payment file with payment code 809XPU that you are dead and will not be able to receive your fund.
Mr. Michael Akigbe engaged himself in so many corrupt practices and to protect the image of this bank, the Universal Bank Plc management fired him some months ago because he collaborated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and diverted some fund belonging to one Mrs. Agvald Catalina a Swedish National.
As a good Christian, I have nothing to gain by keeping your fund or returning your fund to the national treasury. I want to assist you receive your fund because all power has been vested on me to affect all pending international payments to their beneficiaries. This is why I contacted you to confirm if you are alive or dead as claimed by Mr. Michael Akigbe.
If you are alive, please write back immediately with your full names, address and telephone number for clarification and further processing of your fund.
Our Best Regards
Mr. David Dare
Head of International