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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- ",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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Christopher A. Wray" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 08 Jun 2019 04:54:53 -0700
Subject: ATTN: Beneficiary.
According to the ethics of an office, introduction is always very important
on a first contact like this. I am Mr. Christopher A. Wray, Director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This Official Memorandum is to inform
you that we discovered that some officials whom work under the United States
government have attempted to divert your Funds (US$10,500,000:00) through a
back-door channel. We actually discovered this today, through our Secret
Agents under the Disciplinary Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) after we apprehended (Mr. Ali Aeraby) a terrorist and laundering
The mentioned suspect was apprehended at the Dulles International Airport
early this morning, as he attempted to carry the enormous cash value of
US$10,500,000:00 outside the shores of USA. In respect to the money
laundering decree of United States, such amount of money cannot be moved in
cash outside United States because such attempt is a criminal offense and is
punishable under the money laundering act of 1982 of United States of
America. This decree is a globalize law applicable in most developed
countries in order to check-mate terrorism and money laundering.
From our gathered information here in this Unit, we discovered that the said
Funds in question actually belongs to you, but it had been purposely delayed
because the officials in charge of your Payment are into some sort of
irregularities which is totally against the ethics of any Payment
institution. Presently, this said Funds valued US$10,500,000:00 is under the
custody of the Paying Bank (The Bank of New York Mellon) and I can assure
you that your Funds will be released to you without a hitch provided that
you are sincere to us in this matter. Also, we require your positive
co-operation at every level because we are closely monitoring this very
transaction in order to avert the bad eggs in our society of today.
Today dated 28th May 2019, we have instructed the Executive management of
(The Bank of New York Mellon) to Release the said Funds to you as the
certified Beneficiary in question, because we have valuable
information's/records to authenticity that the said Funds truly belongs to
you. Be that as it may, you are required to provide us with below listed
information's (for official verification).
1. First Name, Middle Name and Last Name.
4. Marital Status.
5. Direct Telephone/Fax Number.
6. Residential address.
We await your immediate compliance to this official obligation, so that you
can be paid by (The Bank of New York Mellon).
Mr. Christopher A. Wray.
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)