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:
- "western union" (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. )
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "economic and financial crime 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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Rosemary Abiola" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009 04:48:17 -0700
Subject: YOUR PAYMENT..
ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONITARY CRIMES DIVISION
FBI HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535-0001
We have received a security report from our security unit to handle a case that is related to your payment fund which you have been unable to finalized.
The report stated that your abandon fund was claimed by unknown person with the help of one of the bank workers and western union office, your funds was recovered from the imposters. The FBI has also sent out delegate to go to Africa to apprehend them and with the information we receive from our delegate, they are working very hard to get them with the little informations we have of them and we will need more informations from you, so as to enable them work faster on their trace.
We are also working in conjunction with the EFCC OF NIGERIA (Economic and Financial Crime Commission) to make sure we get the scammers behind bars, while the Federal Government of Nigeria has ordered the EFCC OF NIGERIA to engage a paying banking in Nigeria to release your payment directly to you after you must have sign on the final release Order documents,
Mean while, we have instructed the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to let us know the total amount that you will be receiving from the paying bank.
Do contact us if you have been contacted by the IMF notifying us if you have received your payment or not, as we are now going to hand over the payment to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission OF NIGERIA if you have not received your payment.
Get back to us with these Informations below for verification exercise
Your Full Name:
Your Full Address:
Direct Telephone Number:
Scan Copy of Your Identity:
We need your urgent responds, so that we will give you the contact details of the EFCC OF NIGERIA for your payment.
Robert S. Mueller, III