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:
- "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 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Inga-Britt Ahlenius" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 17:51:28 +0100
Subject: UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES Internal Audit,Monitoring,Consulting And Investigations Division
From: Mrs.Inga-Britt Ahlenius.
This to inform you that I came to Nigeria Yesterday, after series of complaints from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe, Oceania, Antarctica,South America and the United States of America respectively, against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the rate of scam/fraudlent activities going on in their country.
I have met with President Musa Umaru Yaradua who claimed that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund in your account. Right now, as directed by our secretary general Mr.Ban Ki-Moon,We have decided to waive away all your clearance fees and authorise the Government of Nigeria to effect the payment of your fund into your account without any delay.
The only fee you will pay to confirm your fund in your account,is your Notorization fee to the UN. Get back with your full banking details for immediate transfer of your fund in your account once you pay your Notorization fee to the UN.
Sincerely, you are a lucky man because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Mr. Richard Graves from USA to fraustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account.
I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message so that I can advise you on how best to confirm your best in your account within the next 72 hours.
For oral discussion,call me on this number which I just acquired in Nigeria today: +2348062484536
United Nations Under-Secretary-
General for Internal Oversight.
(CALL NUMBER: +2348062484536)