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:
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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: "Mrs. Inga-Britt Ahlenius" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2017 04:01:16 -0800
Subject: PLEASE CLARIFY
United Nations office of
International Oversight Services,
Internal audit, Monitoring,
Consulting and Investigations division.
I am Mrs. Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the United Nations fund monitoring
agent. This is a reminder to our previous message informing you that
the World Bank/United Nations Fund Monitoring Teams are still in west
Africa due to numerous complain from the FBI and other security
agencies regarding the delay/unpaid foreign payments in Africa, our
monitoring team is in Nigeria to supervise all unpaid foreign payments
that originated from Africa which you are among.
We met with the Central Bank of Nigeria Foreign Remittance Officer who
claimed ignorant of delay foreign payments in Africa which your name
is among but has promised to make sure that you and other fund
beneficiaries receive your funds within the next 72hrs. After our
payment reconciliation, a part payment of $1.5M was programmed to be
made in your favor and the officer in charge will be waiting to
receive your full details to enable him process your payment and made
transfer to your nominated bank account.
You are hereby required to forward your full names, address and
telephone number to the officer in charge to the following address:
Names: Mr. Shehu Ahmed
Central Bank Foreign Remittance Officer
The United Nations under the supervisor of the Ministry of Finance,
World Bank Groups and IMF (International Monitory Fund) has adopted
this new administrative measure owing to various complains/petitions
received from beneficiaries due to the delays in receiving their
inheritance fund as expected, it was also adopted to reduce the
administrative protocols as well as fraud perpetration.
Await your immediate response to enable the officer in charge commence
the process of your part-payment soonest.
Mrs. Inga-Britt Ahlenius,
United Nations International Oversight.