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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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.
- +447045710691 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Nelson Costa" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 09 Sep 2009 11:39:13 +0100
Subject: Grant Award 2009
United Nations Foundation
Palais des Nations,
211 Geneva 10, Switzerland.
GRANT AWARD - 2009.
This is to notify you that you have been chosen By the Board of trustees of the above International (Charity & Human Developmental) Organization, as one of the final recipients of a Grant/Cash Donation for your personal development.
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner's historic $1 Billion gift to support UN
causes and activities.
The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world's most pressing problems, and broadens support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. The UN Foundation is a public charity.
In line with the arrangements for the 10th year anniversary program this year, the UN Foundation is giving out a yearly donation of Ten Million United States Dollars as specific Donations/Grants to 20 lucky International recipients worldwide in different categories for their personal and community development. The objective is to make a notable change in the standard of living of people in United Nations Member Countries.
Based on the random selection, you have been chosen to receive the sum of US$500,000.00 (Five hundred thousand United States Dollars) as developmental aid from the UN Foundation.
Beneficiaries have been chosen from every UN Member Nation in every Continent. The idea of this donation is that within ten years from now, there will be notable wealth among many unusual people around the world.
The Fidelity UK Foundation has been appointed to oversee this development affair.
You are required to Contact the Executive Secretary of the Fidelity UK Foundation via the contact information below for documentation and to process the release of your cash aid, between the hours of 8.00am - 7.00pm on Monday through Saturday. Endeavor to quote your Qualification numbers (G-999-747, UZ-900-77) in all discussions.
Foundation Assistant; Fidelity UK Foundation - Neil Marchant
Email: email@example.com Telephone: +44 70457 10691
Please note that the release of your cash aid/donations is to be administered by The Fidelity UK Foundation under delegated powers from the UN Foundation.
On behalf of the Board,
Timothy E. Wirth
United Nations Foundation.