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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "terrorist clearance certificate" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "clearance certificate" (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 ever send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally. )
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "million united states 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)
- ",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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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.
- +447006035545 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "manny james" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 09:41:24 -0700
Subject: ATM CARD PAYMENT
I am Mr. James Manny, from Citi Bank Group London,This is to bring to your
notice that my office has taking over all the money Transaction
originated from any part of African and Europe countries as Contract
payment, Fund Inheritance or Lottery Winning due to
Unauthorized/incapability of financial
Institutions/security companies in releasing
such huge sum of money due to Fraud, terrorist and money laundry activities
going on worldwide.
The World Bank Group has Mandated the Citi Bank Group London via my office
to release funds to
beneficiaries through ATM CARD, Hence Your Name appears as one of the fund
beneficiaries whom their fund was Successfully cleared recently from
Terrorist and Money laundry and your
money will be released to you Through ATM CARD,
that will be usable from any ATM Machine in
your country been the only way you would receive your money to avoid paying
excess charges, As regard to this arrangement, you are advised to get back
to me (telex director) through Tel/fax no: +447006035545 or my personal
(email@example.com) but it is better by fax.
You are therefore advised to forward your direct
telephone numbers, your complete name and address for immediate release of
Be aware that the amount due for you for now is Two Million United States
Dollars Only (US2,000,000.00).Be also informed that the Fund Approvals and
authorization document Including Anti-terrorist Clearance Certificate was
issued in your name and has been handed over to our office to release to you
through our official fast courier company,therefore be aware that your fund
has obtained all her clearance to be released to you.
Thanks for Your Cooperation.
Mr. James Manny
(Telex Director Citi Bank Group London.)