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:
- 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. )
- "you are required to pay " (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. )
- "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. )
- "(efcc)" (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. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 19 May 2010 16:27:10 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: YOUR VERY URGENT ATTENTION'
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
Internal Audit,Monitoring,Consulting And Investigations Division
YOUR VERY URGENT ATTENTION'
From: Mrs.Inga-Britt Ahlenius,
is to inform you that I came to Nigeria last week Monday from London,
after series of complains 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 British Government for the rate of scam activities going on in
these two Nations.
have met with President Umaru Musa Yaradua of Nigeria 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 are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Economic
and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and have decided to waive away
all your clearance fees/Charges and authorize the Government of Nigeria
to effect your payment of an amount of US$15.5Milloin approved by both
the British government and the UN into your account without any further
delay. Now after much series of meeting the only fee you are required
to pay for you to confirm your fund in your account is the Notarization
fee of (US$250) only which you can afford.
you are a lucky person because we just discovered that some top
Nigerian and British Government Officials are interested in your fund
and they are working in collaboration with One Mr. Richard Graves from
USA to frustrate 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 fund in your account within the
next 72 hours.
a matter of urgency also re-confirm to this office the following
requirement to enhance a speedy and effective transfer of your fund.
Mr. Lamido Sanusi the New Governor Central Bank of Nigeria,(CBN) e-mail
ID: email@example.com Direct Line:+234 -805-044-5778.
(1)YOUR FULL BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS WHERE THE FUND SHALL BE
(2)YOUR FULL NAMES:
(4)YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER:
(5)A COPY OF YOUR ID or DRIVERS LICENSE THROUGH EMAIL ATTACHMENT.
soon as they have this in conjunction with your Notarization
certificate your fund shall be transferred to you without further
delay. Finally note that the instruction giving by the Senate
Committees that after four banking days we contacting the beneficiary
and he or she did not comply with the instruction, he or her payment
should be cancel automatically,so act fast and receive your fund in
line with others.
US ONCE YOU CONTACTED THE BANK.
I wait to hear from you Soon.
United Nations Under-Secretary-
General for Internal Oversight.