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:
- 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. )
- ",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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2017 10:33:57 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: APPROVE FOR IMMEDIATE TRANSFER TO YOUR ACCOUNT
THIS TO INFORM YOU THAT WE HAVE RECEIVED INSTRUCTION WITH YOUR PAYMENT FILE
FROM OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY TO TRANSFER YOUR INHERITANCE PAYMENT
US$32,500,000.00 TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT IN BY TOMORROW AS SOON AS ALL CHARGES IS
PLEASE RE-CONFIRM YOUR BANK INFORMATION TO AVOID ANY MISTAKE DURING THE
TRANSFER BY TOMORROW. WE ARE GOING TO TRANSFER YOUR INHERITANCE PAYMENT OF
US$32,500,000.00 TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT BY TOMORROW AND THE TRANSFER CONFIRMATION
SLIPS WILL BE SENT TO YOU FOR YOUR EASY CONFIRMATION.
AS A MATTER OF URGENCY YOU ARE ADVISED TO MAKE A PAYMENT OF US$59.00 BEEN
PAYMENT OF DEDUCTION FEE.
THE DEDUCTION FEE OF US$59.00 WILL ENABLE THIS BANK TO OBTAIN AN AFFIDAVIT AND
STAMP DUTIES FROM HIGH COURT OF NIGERIA, WHICH WILL EMPOWER US TO DEDUCT ALL
CHARGES AND PREPARE YOUR DEDUCTION CERTIFICATE THAT WILL SHOW THAT ALL CHARGES
HAVE BEEN DEDUCTED AND YOU WILL NOT PAY ANY OTHER FEE.
YOU ADVISED TO SEND THE DEDUCTION FEE OF US$59.00 TODAY THROUGH WESTERN UNION
MONEY TRANSFER OR MONEY GRAM WITH THE NAME OF THE OFFICER IN CHARGE, VICTORIA
IKPO , LAGOS NIGERIA, QUESTION IS: BLACK, ANSWER IS: BLUE
AS SOON AS WE RECEIVE THIS PAYMENT FROM YOU TODAY, WE WILL DEDUCT ALL CHARGES
AND YOUR BALANCE WILL BE REMITTED TO YOUR ACCOUNT BY TOMORROW MORNING AND THE
TRANSFER DETAILS WILL BE FORWARDED TO YOU FOR YOUR EASY CONFIRMATION WITH YOUR
HERE IS THE MONEY GRAM INFORMATION
RECEIVER NAME: AMARACHI EZE .
ADDRESS: LAGOS NIGERIA
ACT ACCORDING TO THE INSTRUCTIONS, I AM WAITING FOR YOUR URGENT RESPONSE.
NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU CALL ME AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THIS E-MAIL +234-708-954-
REGARDS AND GOD BLESS YOU.
MR. WILLIAMS ROBERT
FOREIGN OPERATION DEPARTMENT
For: AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK GROU