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:
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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 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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR OSCAR EMEKA" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2019 01:22:43 -0700
Subject: COMPASSION FUND OF $5.5 MILLION DOLLARS.
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA NIGERIA
H OFFICE ADDRESS UBA HOUSE
57 MARINA PO BOX 2406 LAGOS NIGERIA
PHONE +234 8149536276 =
I must say that I have an enormous respect for you, considering the manner=
in which I have made contact with you.
I sincerely apologize for sending this sensitive information via email ins=
tead of a certified mail, phone call or face-to-face conversation, it is du=
e to the urgency and importance of the security information involved.
I'm Mr. Oscar Emeka, Director Cash Processing Unit (CPU), United Bank for =
Africa, International Monetary Fund (IMF) in conjunction with Organization =
of African Unity (OAU) has instructed us to pay you FIVE MILLION FIVE HUN=
DRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS $ 5,500, 000.00) in Cash through mean=
s of diplomatic courier service hand delivery. Take Note: Three thousand un=
ited states dollars (USD $ 3,000) has been mapped out for all expenses, the=
refore, of the forward your address and Direct phone number, to this email:=
For more details please call phone number +234 8149536276
MR OSCAR EMEKA
Director Cash Processing Unit (CPU)
United Bank for Africa