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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "western union" (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. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: Barrister Saka Sali <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2021 12:25:04 +0100
Subject: Attention:The Approved Fund Owner:
FROM THE DESK OF :
BARRISTER SAKA SALI LLB. BL
CHAIRMAN FUND RELEASE PANEL.
Attention:The Approved Fund Owner:
It has been drawn to my attention, that some impostors are using the
office of the minister of finance federal Republic of Nigeria to
extort innocent people of their hard earned money. However, I regret
to inform you, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, that
all outstanding payment of contracts, lotto winning and next of kin,
has been released to the original fund owners with immediate effecting
only requesting the interested beneficiaries to pay the WAIVER FEES OF
US$95 only and nothing more.
In view of the above and the for record purposes, all interested and
willing beneficiaries are requested to reconfirm their below
information for proper documentations and immediate release of the
fund via wire transfer as approved by the Federal executive council.
Your full names
next of kin
a copy of your id card.
Please, note that as soon as you have responded to this email which is
an indication that you are willing and ready to comply and receive
your fund, I will forward to you, the western union receiving
information of the officer for the payment as all payment must be via
western union for proper documentation.
We regret once again, all your challenges in the hands of impostors
and urge you to adhere strictly to the advise as if you fail, it will
be at your own risk.
Barrister Saka Sali LLB. BL
CHAIRMAN FUND RELEASE PANEL.