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. )
- "notarization fees" (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. )
- "(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. )
- 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. Ingabritt Ahlenius" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2010 10:04:35 -0700
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
Internal Audit, Monitoring, Consulting And Investigations Division.
From: Mrs. Ingabritt Ahlenius.
To: Fund Beneficiary,
This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria few days ago from New York, after series of complain 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 over the rate of scam activities going on in these two nations.
I have met with Mr. President Goodluck Chidiebere Jonathan of Nigeria who says that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund in your account since is arrival from the white house on a conference meeting with the president of America. 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 the payment of your compensation of an amount of $10M approved by both the British government and the UN into your account without any delay. The only fee you will pay to confirm your fund in your account is your Notarization fee to the United Nation.
Sincerely, you are a lucky person because I have 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 if only you can take care of the Notarization fees which is the only fees that you are supposed to pay for your outstanding funds to be paid to you either by wire transfer/ATM card payment.
For oral discussion, call me on this number which I just acquired in Nigeria since my arrival: (+234-803-827-3525) and email us through this email address: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mrs. Ingabritt Ahlenius.