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:
- "money laundering" ("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. )
- "transfer of your funds" (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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Foreign Assets Control" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 18:43:51 +0300
Subject: Foreign Assets Control
FROM THE OFFICE OF MR. TED F. GEENER
Senior Secretary, Foreign Assets Control
The U.S. Department of the Treasury
Treasury Annex 290 Broadway
New York, NY 10007-1823,
United States of America
Our Ref: USA/TREAS/898ATCP
Your ref: USA/IMF/7890/121
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN PAYMENT RESOLUTION PANEL ON WITHHELD PAYMENTS
After reviewing your online email communication messages on your unsuccessful transactions with most European and other foreign banks in Africa, we wish to let you know that we have communicated with most of these foreign banks that withheld most international payments to individual accounts so as to find out why these funds were withheld and the source of the funds.
Conclusively, we discovered that most of these withheld and/or unpaid funds being remitted to individual accounts abroad originated from lottery organizations, international trading companies and deceased personals/contracts.
Such transfer suspension was placed on these funds because majority of these international fund remittance/transfer of over the total sum of $500,000 and above to private individuals account abroad, usually carried out by foreign Banks, Private or Commercial Courier Companies were never properly recorded by the paying institution for future file reference/assessment by Crime Monitoring Units/Agencies.
In joint alliance with the HMRC Treasury Europe, the European Financial Service Commission & the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resolve this issue, we wish to let you know that we have approved to release only the total sum of Seven Million United States Dollars ($7,000,000.00 USD) to enable you start up your own business.
Through the assistance of the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) to investigate and release suspended, withheld and/or unpaid Inheritance/Award Winning/Contract funds to its beneficiaries account abroad, we were able to gain an approval authorization letter from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which stated that these funds will be released by these European and other foreign banks to its beneficiary on proper confirmation of its claim.
By the virtue of the provision of the law which confer on us powers to advocate, adjudicate suspend and authorize an immediate transfer of your funds internationally, we hereby state emphatically and without prejudice that should there be any information that may succeed your application for fund release that are currently deposited in most European and other foreign banks, please do not hesitate to provide us the information so that we will know how to help you receive your funds.
Kindly provide your personal contact details by sending us the information below along with a scanned copy of your international passport or drivers license so that we will forward it for verification and payment.
1. Your Full Name, Nationality & Current Location.
2. Your Age & Current Occupation.
3. Your Phone & Fax Number.
4. Your ID Number (or Attach Identification Documents).
Important Notice: Your inability to make this clarification for fund transfer with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will continue to suspend your chances of receiving any international payment directed to your local bank account from any foreign bank until this clarification is made.
Failure to properly apply for the funds release for transfer to you within 7 days, will nullify your chances of receiving this funds, and this funds will be confiscated and made to be forfeited under the Money Laundering and Other Financial Crime Prohibition Act of 2003.
Also note that due to my position as the U.S. Treasury Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury, I will not always be available to answer any of your calls because i am not always in my office due to the states political matters and my office numbers are usually engaged until i return after few days. If you have any issue to discuss regarding your funds, kindly email me and i will always get back to you as soon as possible.
Foreign Assets Control.
U.S. Department of the Treasury.