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:
- "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: "IMF" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 00:18:12 -0700
Subject: INSTRUCTION TO RELEASE YOUR INHERITANCE FUND
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
HEAD OFFICE NO: 23 ADEBOYE ST,
INSTRUCTION TO RELEASE YOUR INHERITANCE FUND
This is to intimate you of a very important information which will be of a
great help to redeem you from all the difficulties you have been experiencing
in getting your long over due payment due to excessive demand for money from
you by both corrupt Bank officials and Courier Companies after which your fund
remain unpaid to you.
I am Mr. Paul Rochers a highly placed official of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF). It may interest you to know that reports have reached our office by
so many correspondences on the uneasy way which people like you are treated by
Various Banks and Courier Companies/ Diplomat across Europe to Africa and
Asia /London Uk and we have decided to put a stop to that and that is why I was
appointed to handle your transaction here in Nigeria.
All Governmental and Non-Governmental prostates, NGOs, Finance Companies,
Banks, Security Companies and Courier companies which have been in contact with
you of late have been instructed to back up from your transaction and you have
been advised NOT to respond to them anymore since the IMF is now directly in
charge of your payment.
You are hereby advised NOT to remit further payment to any institutions with
respect to your transaction as your fund will be transferred to you directly
from our source.I hope this is clear. Any action contrary to this instruction
is at your own risk. Respond to this e-mail on (email@example.com) with
immediate effect and we shall give you further details on how your fund will be
Also call me as soon as you send the e-mail so that you will be given an
Mr. Paul Rochers