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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "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. )
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "international remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "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 free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2020 18:24:34 +0100
Subject: GOOD DAY
First Bank of Nigeria Pl c.
Plot 35 Marina, P.o.Box 5216,
Lagos State of Nigeria.
This letter is written to you in order to change your life from today.
I am Rev.Ashii Ashii the Director, International Remittance Department
of this Bank, my Boss, Mr. Jacobs M. Ajekigbe, the Managing
Director/CEO of this bank is now on compulsory leave and all power
have been vested on me to make all international payments. Also, due
to reported cases of corrupt practices in other Nigeria Banks
including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Federal Government has
revoked/cancelled all power vested on those banks and has appointed
our bank (First Bank of Nigeria) to make all foreign payments. Be
informed that the Federal Government have approved the release of
part-payment of$7.5M (Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) out
of your total funds, which has been in this bank for many years
unclaimed because my boss Mr. Jacobs Ajekigbe, elaboration with the
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have refused to tell you the
truth on how to claim your fund this is because he has been using the
After the transfer, you will confirm the fund in your bank account
within 5 hours the same day. No Cost of Transfer (COT) and no stoppage
from any Government departments as the transfer will be done within
the bank alone and it is very safe. The method which was introduced to
you before is the Telegraphic Transfer (TT) for which confirmation
was hours, because of the time factor, petitions could come from
various organizations stopping your payment and asking you to pay
huge fee which would be difficult for you to pay so that they can
benefit from the huge interest your fund generates while still in the
This method is not safe for you because it is not done within the bank
alone as information of the payment would be sent to the Central
Control Unit (CCU) of the Federal Ministry of Finance and office of
the Accountant General of the Federation. As a good Christian, I have
nothing to gain by keeping your fund, I want to assist you receive
your fund before my boss resumes office. You have to follow up and
work with me now, so keep this very confidential because of fraudsters
and impostors who go about presenting various bank accounts in order
to divert another beneficiary's fund. Your present/valid account
co-ordinates and amount to be claimed so that I do not transfer your
fund to the wrong Bank Account awaiting your quick call for more
details. .Reply with email
The Director, International Remittance Department,
First Bank Plc