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.
- 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:
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "cheque " (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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "United Nation"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 16:06:53 +0100
We wish to inform you that the United Nations (UN) has taken over the Settlement of 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 (OFAC) U.S Treasury Department's and with the FBI 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. The United Nations Organization have received a mandate and instructions from the (OFAC) U.S Treasury Department's to commence the immediate release of your funds in the tune of $8,500,000 USD (Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars.
your Email Address came up as one of the Unpaid Individuals. We wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this E-mail, irrespective of the payment issue which you currently or previously had with your transaction agents.
For some security reasons we need you to reconfirm your information's bellow and send to our UNITED NATIONS representative SECURITY & FINANCIAL CONTACT AGENT in Kampala (UGANDA) Rev.Harry Green, E-mail:Rev.email@example.com contact him immediately for your cheque of $8.5.MILLION. In this case you will be sent a certified bank draft or cheque signed in your favor which you will deposit in any bank for it to be cleared within 3 to 5 working days at most depending on your bank.
Your full Name:
Next Of Kin:
Copy of ID or Passport:
Secretary United Nations.
Mrs Marianne Thomas.
NOTE: This e-mail message is intended only for the named recipient(s) above and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this message in error, or are not the named recipient(s), please immediately notify the sender and delete this e-mail message.