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:
- "loan agreement" (Beware of fake loan offers. Real lenders would not normally use free webmail addresses such as Yahoo, nor would they lend to individuals or small businesses in a different country from where they are based. Beware of mobile phones or redirector numbers!)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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: "United States Consulate" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 11:51:16 -0700
This is to notify you that you are among the beneficiaries that the Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Finance forwarded their outstanding payment file to us for payment. This is after the agreement reached during the signing of Economic Aid loan agreement between the Nigerian government with the G8 in partnership with IMF/WORLD BANK. The said agreement empowers the United States of American Consulate in Nigeria to handle forthwith all outstanding payment of foreign beneficiaries, and we have received all payment files from the Ministries in charge.
We do not know if the source of your outstanding payment valued US$12.5M as stated in your payment file was as a result inheritance, contract payment or lottery winning, but you are advised to contact us for clarification upon receipt of this notification letter to enable us process and recommend your fund for payment through our proved designated bank in Nigeria.
The inability of Nigeria government to pay outstanding foreign beneficiaries their funds even after so many of these beneficiaries must have spent hugely has created a big diplomatic and bilateral face-off between the Nigerian government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the U.S Government as well as the International community hence the refusal of the United States President Barack Obama to visit Nigeria in his maiden African visit, and also the listing of Nigeria as one of the terrorist nations to be strictly monitored after the failed terrorist attempt by a Nigerian (AbdulMutallab) on the 25th December 2009.
In view of this, the United States Consulate has been mandated to handle all payment verification and recommend genuine beneficiaries for payment. Among the criteria set for approval of the loan for the Nigerian government as highlighted above is for the United States Consulate in Nigeria to takeover charge and pay all verifiable beneficiaries after thorough scrutiny of payment documents as contained in various payment files with us. This is to ensure no fraud is perpetrated again as it has been the case considering the numerous complaints received by the United Nation Regional Office in Africa.
Consequently, since the World Bank and IMF has agreed for only one bank in Nigeria to handle all this transaction due to their participation in fraud, your fund is going to be paid through this Equitorial Trust bank. Therefore, to enable us proceed, you should send to this office the below stated information for verification and scrutiny of your claim prior to payment.
(1) YOUR FULL NAMES AND ADDRESS.
(2) YOUR BANK DETAILS TO RECIEVE YOUR FUND.
(3) COPY OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION
(4) YOUR TELEPHONE/FAX NUMBERS
This will enable us finalize with the head of government and transfer your fund. Do contact us on the below address for further details:email@example.com Also you must ensure that the specified information above is provided for speedy attention on your payment file.
Ms. Debra Taplin Hunter.
For:Mr. Thompson W. Richards
Director, Debt Payment Unit,
United States Consulate
#2 Walter Carrington Crescent, V.Island