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:
- "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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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 Nations Organization" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 22:12:33 +0100
Subject: I apologize on behalf of my organization for any delay you might have
UNITED NATIONS/ WORLD BANK COMPENSATION UNIT
We write to informed you that we have been authorized by the International Community in conjunction with the World bank to investigate the list of
scammed victims who as one way or the other lost their valuables-Money,Assets, etc to perpetrator.
We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago with the then secretary to the UNITED NATIONS. This email is to all
the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$ 500,000.00.
This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or
international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc.
We found your name/email in our list and that is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed.
You are advised to contact Mr. Jim Ovia of our paying center in Africa, as he is our representative in Africa, contact him immediately for your
Cheque/ International Bank Draft of USD$500,000.00. This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose ok? so he will send it to you and you can
clear it in any bank of your choice.
Therefore, you should send him your full Name, telephone number, your correct mailing address where you want him to send the Draft to you.
Person to Contact: Mr. Jim Ovia
YOU ARE ADVISED TO FURNISH HIM WITH THIS BELOW INFORMATION:
1. YOUR FULL NAME:
2. SHIPPING ADDRESS:
3. TELEPHONE NUMBER (CELL PHONE IF ANY):
Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft. Making the world a better place.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.