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:
- "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. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: INTERNATIONAL POLICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2021 00:48:18 -0700
Subject: BEWARE OF IMPOSTORS AND HOODLUMS
Ian Hopkins(head and chief constable )
The international police(Interpol)
National Central bureau (NCB UK)
NCJ Number: 47731
Re. Your financial activities.
I am Ian Hopkins head. international police(Interpol UK}.
The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as
Interpol, is an international organization that facilitates worldwide
police cooperation and crime control. We provides a range of policing
ï»¿expertise and capabilities, supporting three main crime programmes:
Counter-terrorism, Cybercrime, and Organized and emerging crime.
Recently, we have been working closely with secret agencies around the
globe trying to stop internet fraud that is aimed at unsuspected
victims in the united states of America,Europe,Asia,Africa etc.
Our Investigations Revealed that you have been wired out money to
Nigeria,Benin republic, Ghana etc which amounted to over $3,000
>From our investigations we discovered that you have been dealing with
fraudster/impostors. An example of their fraudulent operations
Western union fraud
ATM card fraud
Central bank of Nigeria
Online dating scam
Online sales scam
I therefore oblige that you respond to this e-mail if you are in this
situation presently or previously.
Your money Will be returned back to you if you are ready to co-operate
with us by given us more information on the activities.
more details would be given to you once your response is received.