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)
- "cost of transfer" (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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: WORLD BANK AUDITORS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2020 00:23:19 -0700
WORLD BANK AUDITORS
SITTING PRUDENTLY IN THE NIGERIAN PRIME FINANCIAL INSTITUTION
AFRICA REGIONAL OFFICE
(CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA)
TINUBU SQUARE LAGOS - NIGERIA
Our Ref: WBA/NG/CBN/2020
From the Desk of: Malcolm Stuart
Head Auditor (World Bank)
*RE: YOUR OUTSTANDING PAYMENT OF US$3,500,000.00*
We wish to bring to your notice about the on-going process between the
Nigeria Government and the officials of the World Bank Auditors in respect
of your outstanding payment which was previously suspended from being
released to you by the Central Bank Of Nigeria despite all the effort you
made in the past for the claiming of your fund.
In view of this, the Governing Board of the World Bank has directed the
World Bank Auditors to shift base to Nigeria to scrutinize and oversee an
immediate release of such payments that has met the requirements for
effectiveness without any further delay. Any beneficiary certified âOKâ
will receive his / her fund within five (5) working days from the date of
the final authentication of his / her contractual date.
It is also interesting to inform you that in order to carry out deductions
on your bills as regards Cost of Transfers (COT), Security Deposit (SD) and
other taxable charges, you will be requested to obtain the Debit form M104
from this authority so as to empower this board to carry out such deduction
from the total contract sum before final remittance.
Furthermore, certification and unconditional payment release orders have
been invested on this board and it involves payment from our statutory
foreign reserves of international capital markets (ICM) loans from (IMF)
and the World Bank respectively. It is of vital international financial
interest that all payments under this dispensation have been bestowed on
the World Bank Auditors for immediate settlements. On behalf of the
Nigerian government, this body regrets any inconveniences this delay might
have caused your good self.
You are hereby finally advised to stop all further communications with any
agents, group of people or any government bodies in respect of your payment.
Please contact us for detailed information. Expecting your prompt response.
From: Malcolm Stuart
Head Auditor (World Bank)