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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- ",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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "cashier's check" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Federal Reserve Bank" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2019 11:12:30 +0000
Subject: Notification Of Your Compensation Funds 2019
Your payment files from three (3) different Banks, Nat-west Bank of London, Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of America was compiled and submitted to my desk this morning for review. The total sum owed to you by the 3 Banks mentioned above was summed up to the tune of US$15,500,000.00 (Fifteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars). The fund has been lodged in an Escrow account (non deductible) here in the Federal Reserve Bank New York.
Having observed all due diligence required for the release of this fund to you, we ask that you reconfirm your mailing address. Upon receipt of this information, a certified cashier's check backed by this bank will be couriered to you for lodgment in any bank of your choosing.
Do not that we have a backlog of claims to process, claims are treated on a first come first serve basis. You are advised to act with dispatch.
Mr. Jerome H. Powell
Federal Reserve Bank York, NY 10045
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org