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:
- 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:
- "clearance fee" (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 send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms Carman L.lapointe" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 23:02:34 +0100
For your information, after series of complaints from the FBI and other
security agencies/commissions in Asia, Europe and South America cited
against some West African countries for the high volume of fraudulent
activities coming from those countries.
Click on the link below or simply copy then paste the weblink into your
web browser, to read more about me:
Following the resolution issued by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
of your overdue entitlement - we are working jointly with the Nigerian
Financial Crimes Commission but most importantly - we have resolved to
waive all clearance fees/charges with a standing order approved and
supported by IMF and United Nations - authorizing the paying bank to
effect your payment of $10,786,000.00 directly into your account with
As a listed beneficiary on file, the only fee you will pay to receive
your fund is the Notarization Fee. Upon your consent, I shall send you
the payment instruction and information you will need.
I personally found out that some corrupt government officials in high
places are interested in diverting your entitlement, they have
illinios- USA to collaborated with one Mr. Richard Graves resident in Chicago, frustrate and thereafter divert your fund into his account.
I have very limited time to stay here in Nigeria, it will be in your
best interest to respond timely to this correspondence, then reconfirm
your full names, current residence address, direct phone number,and also your recent valid ID card scanned,so that I can give details
instructions and advise,on how to get your entitlement paid to you within the next 72 hours.
For additional information and enquiry, email me at: Email Address:
Ms Carman L. Lapointe
Head United Nations Under-Secretary General For Internal Oversight
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