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Cyren Security Blog

The Cyren Security Blog is where Cyren engineers and thought leaders provide insights, research and analysis on a range of current cybersecurity topics.

The “stop-419″ 419

We have previously described the tell-tale signs of a 419 (advance fee fraud email). Refresher: recipients of an email are offered a large amount of money. Actually getting “the money” involves several advance payments (for customs duties, bank charges, bribes etc.) – and of course the only ones who actually get any money are the scammers.

In the “stop-419″, scam recipients receive an email from “the authorities” informing them that they may have been the victim of a 419 scam and promising them a sizeable refund. This is often the next stage in a 419 scam i.e.: after conning a victim to pay several advance fees, the scammers change identity and contact the victim pretending to offer help to recover stolen funds and apprehend the “criminals” involved. Naturally this process also requires certain advance payments (administrative fees, payment of informants etc.).

The example below is not part of a complete scam process but has instead been mailed to a general mailing list. The footnote of the email even includes dire warnings about falling victim to such 419 schemes and includes the mantra offered by most anti-scam sites “if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam.” The email also includes a link and contact details of the actual Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Email text:


The Federal Government of Nigeria through provisions in Section 419 of the Criminal Code came up with punitive measures to deter and punish offenders. The Advance Fee Fraud section deal mainly with cases of advance fee fraud (commonly called 419) such as obtaining by false pretence through different fraudulent schemes e.g. contract scam, credit card scam, inheritance scam, job scam, loan scam, lottery scam, wash scam (money washing scam), marriage scam. Immigration scam, counterfeiting and religious scam. It also investigates cyber crime cases. This is to officially announce to you that some scam Syndicates were apprehended in Lagos, Nigeria few days ago and after several interrogations and tortures your details were among those mentioned by some of the scam Syndicates as one of the victims of their operations.

After proper investigations and research at Western Union Money Transfer and Money Gram office to know if you have truly sent money to the scam Syndicates through Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram, your name was found in Western Union Money Transfer database amongst those that have sent money through Western Union Money Transfer to Nigeria and this proves that you have truly been swindled by those unscrupulous persons by sending money to them in the course of getting one fund or the other that is not real, right now we are working hand in hand with Western Union and Interpol to track every fraudsters down, do not respond to their e-mails, letters and phone calls any longer they are scammers and you should be very careful to avoid being a victim to fraudsters any longer because they have nothing to Offer you but to rip-off what you have worked hard to earn.

In this regard a meeting was held between the Board of Directors of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and as a consequence of our investigations it was agreed that the sum of Two hundred thousand US Dollars (US$200,000) should be transferred to you out of the funds that Federal Government of Nigeria has set aside as a compensation to everyone who have by one way or the other sent money to fraudsters in Nigeria. We have deposited your fund at Western Union Money Transfer agent location EMS Post office Lagos, Nigeria. We have submitted your details to them so that your fund can be transferred to you.Contact the Western Union agent office through the email address stated below about this notification letter and the transfer of your fund;

Contact Mrs. Elizabeth

Email: westernunion90@—.cl / westernunionpayment@— Total Claim (US$200,000)


Yours sincerely,

Sarah White ()

Assistant Investigation Officer.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 15A Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.Nigeria


Please note that some fraudsters are claiming to be Directors or staffs of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have recently been sending phony e-mails/letters and also calling unsuspecting persons, with intent to defraud them. It is important to note that these fraudsters are criminal engaged in Advanced Fee Fraud known in Nigeria as 419. Every day, people throughout the world are falling victim to scams of one kind or another. But remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam. In the Circumstance, we unreservedly advice you to dissociate your self from all correspondence and transactions entered into based on evidently fraudulent and fictitious claims.

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