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:
- 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)
- "million 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: PAYMASTER GENERAL OF NIGERIA <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2019 10:51:10 -0700
Subject: PAYMASTER GENERAL OF NIGERIA
FROM THE DESK OF: ALHAJI USMAN CHI
PAYMASTER GENERAL OF NIGERIA
RE: FINAL PAYMENT NOTIFICATION
THIS IS TO BRING TO YOUR HUMBLE NOTICE, THAT I, THE PAYMASTER GENERAL OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA HAS TODAY BEING 05TH DAY OF MARCH,2019 RECEIVED AN APPROVAL ORDER ON YOUR BEHALF TO TRANSFER THE SUM OF US$10.5 MILLION DOLLARS INTO YOUR ACCOUNT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA,PROF YEMI OSINBAJO.
HOWEVER, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO RECONFIRM TO THIS OFFICE OF THE PAYMASTER GENERAL AS STATED BELLOW,YOUR BANKING INFORMATION AS WE HAVE IT WITH US HERE IN YOUR FILE, WHERE THE FUND WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO:WITH A COPY OF YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT AND ALSO YOUR TELEPHONE FOR EASY COMMUNICATION.
FINALLY YOU COULD REACH ME THROUGH MY PRIVATE NUMBER: TEL;2348187040361.
THANKS FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION.I AM WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU URGENTLY.
ALHAJI USMAN CHI
PAYMASTER GENERAL OF NIGERIA