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:
- 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:
- "economic and financial crimes commission" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "cashiers check" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "Mr Peter" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 04:24:19 +0800
Subject: STOP IMPOSTERS (PAYMENT OF $91.95)
United Nations Liaison Office - Africa
This email is to notify you about the release of your outstanding payment
which is truly US$ 450.000 Dollars. The Federal Government scheduled a time
frame to settle all foreign debts which includes
Contract/Inheritance/Gambling/ Lottery (Sponsored by Microsoft and National
Lottery) and other international loans. News had it that over the
past,numerous individual(s) who happen to be impostors (claiming to be
individuals, banks and organizations) are claiming to release numerous sums
of fund via numerous ways.
With the help of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission we have
noticed that people have being asked to pay outrageous amount of money
by these impostors for the transfer of their funds to them. We want you to
stop all communication that has to do with these fraudsters who have been
requesting unreasonable sums of money from you to release your funds which
they do not have access to.
We have received a mandate and instructions from the Financial Crimes
Commission President, Umaru Yar'Adua (GCFR) together with the EFCC, and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation to commence the immediate release of your
funds through one of the following payment options stated below depending
on your choice:
1. Payment via Automatic Teller Machine (ATM card): This is where you will
be sent an Automatic Teller Machine card with Pin also known as ATM card (A
Debit Card issued by MasterCard). Upon receipt of your custom ATM card you
will be allowed to withdraw $10,000.00 per day by default and you are given
the option to transfer funds from your ATM card to your bank account.
2. Certified Cashiers Check or Bank Draft: In this case you will be sent a
certified bank draft or check signed in your favor which you will deposit
in your bank for it to be cleared within 3 to 5 working days at most
depending on your bank.
You are advised to select one out of the two options on how you wish to
receive your US$ 450.000 Dollars.. Your ATM card or Check/Bank Draft will
be shipped via Fedex Shipping Company and would get to you within 2 to 3
working days at most.
The actual fees for shipping your ATM card is $120.99 but because Fedex have
temporarily discontinued the cost of delivery ( C.O.D )which gives you the
chance to pay when package is delivered for international shipping as stated
by their company We had to sign contract with them for bulk shipping which
makes the fees reduce from the actual $120.99 to $91.95 nothing more and no
hidden fees of any sort.
You are advised to contact the dispatch officer responsible for the
shipping of your Check or ATM card with the following information for
shipping of your payment Check or ATM card.
Dispatch Officer: Dr. Kessinger Bank Atlantique Groupe Plc Director .
Phone; +234 708 901 3900
And provide him with the following information:
Your full Name...
Preferred Payment Method (Check or ATM):................
The dispatch officer Dr.Kessinger will provide you with instructions on how
you are to make payment of the $91.95 only for the shipping of your ATM
card or Cashiers Check.
This measure is intended to stop the impostors you have erroneously been
You are to adhere strictly to the instructions above for more information
contact the dispatch officer.
Remember that you are not paying any fees extra no matter what. Once again
note that the actual Fedex Retail Price: $120.99 Your Price (Because of our
contract signed): is now $91.95 ($53.04 Savings!).
Mr Peter Drake