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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "inheritance funds" (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.
- 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: CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 26 May 2018 20:52:42 +0100
Subject: We really want to confirm whether you are terminal sick.
We are hereby to confirmed whether it is true that you are terminal
sick and you empower two gentlemen to came to our office to stand and
claim your contract/inheritance funds due to your health condition, as
they stand as Next-Of-Kin to you.
Further more they provide bank account where this fund will be
transfer. As matter of urgency, we told them to call back in three
days time (3) and we decided to contact you first to confirmed the
genuine of their submission of the letter through you. However, the
directive we received is that we pay your compensation of US$2.5
Million Dollars through ATM/DEBIT MASTER CARD or option through your
Note if you do not authorize them, kindly contact us immediately
within 7 working days before this transfer will be made to the account
they provide on your behalf. Again help us re-confirm the following
(1) Your Full Name
(2) Your Home or Office Address
(3) Your Cell telephone Numbers
(4) Your Identification
(5) Your Occupation/Age
(6) Your Bank account details
The moment this information across to us, we have to act accordingly
Director of foreign operation (CBN)