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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "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 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: info <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2023 11:13:53 +0100
Subject: Please i need your help urgent.
United Bank For Africa
Head Office Address:
57, Marina, Lagos Island
Lagos State Nigeria.
Dear good friend,
I am Mr. Oliver Alawuba, Managing Director United Bank for Africa. I
personally discovered a dormant account what of ($10.5,000,000 United
States Dollars) from our late customer during our Bank's Annual Year
Account Auditing. Since the death of the deceased, nobody has operated
in this account till date.
Definitely, our Banking code of ethics will confiscate this fund if it
remains dormant for a period of 10 years without no claims. In this
regard, I earnestly need your full cooperation in transferring this
money out of our bank to you via (PRE-PAID ATM VISA CARD or BANK TO
BANK WIRE TRANSFER) to avoid our bank confiscating this fund. Our
sharing ratio will be 40% for you and 60% for me.
Should you be interested to work with me in this project? please
Kindly get back to me for more information and Guideline to ensure
that we get this concluded urgently.
Looking forward to hear from you soonest.
Mr. Oliver Alawuba.
Managing Director United Bank for Africa.