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:
- "processing fee" (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. )
- "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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Bank of America <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2021 14:15:42 +0100
Subject: Your pay through an ATM debit card or wire transfer.
We have been directed to pay your money through an ATM debit card or
wire transfer on your behalf as your payment held by Central Bank of
Nigeria, because it will be the easiest way to pay your funds, to
enable you not to pay much taxes to your Government, as we will issue
the ATM card in your name, as soon as you receive the card we would
send your pin Number to access the card.
The amount on the card will contain $10 million dollars which will not
be on the card until the card is being delivered to you for security
reasons. The maximum cash withdrawal daily is $9,500.00. POS and Web
transactions daily limit of $2,000.000.00.
The card will be sent to your doorstep. Youâre required to forward us
your home address and your phone number.
You will be required to pay for the processing fee and the delivering
of the card.
Bank of America
100 N.Tryon St