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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2023 10:53:08 +0100
Subject: RE: YOUR INTEREST NEEDED
My name is Paul Dike. I work with the United Bank For Africa, (U.B.A)
here in Nigeria. Due to the ongoing general elections in my country,
some politicians took that opportunity to loot money. Nigeria is also
undergoing a cashless form of payment. In my bank, there is this sum
of USD$18.2M belonging to one of the renowned politicians. This said
sum is in my own care and unfortunately, this politician that owns
this amount of money that is in my position was assassinated by the
opponent from another party. So I am the only person who knows about
this money. I am looking for a trustworthy foreigner who can be able
to deposit this said sum in his or her own bank account pending when I
will be chanced to come over to claim it.
If you are interested in receiving this money, you should go ahead to
confirm your full information to me such as your full names, address,
phone and any of your identification. On confirmation of your full
information I will be able to discuss your own percentage and what
will be mine own percentage which you will have to keep for me in your
own account till I come over to invest with it.
It is also important you call me on the phone for further directives.
I wait to hear from you before we proceed further.