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:
- 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:
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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 crimes 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. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: "FBI" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 05:16:44 -0800
Subject: MASTERCARD HAS APPROVED YOUR ATM CARD FOR DELIVERY (FBI)
MASTERCARD HAS APPROVED YOUR ATM CARD FOR DELIVERY (FBI)
I am Mr. Ron Mills, the personal secretary to the FBI Director; Robert S. Mueller III. Investigations revealed
that you have spent a lot on your personal earned money obtaining transfer documents as requested by
Impostors, costing you a lot of money, yet all efforts to receive your overdue payment have been to no avail.
With the help of some of the best Internet investigators attached to the FBI, we have taken out time in
screening through this project as stipulated on our protocol of operation and in addition, we sent special
financial crime investigators from Washington DC to Africa in other to carry out proper investigations after
receiving series of reports similar to yours as you are not the only person awaiting the legal transfer of funds
Based on the findings of our special financial crime investigators, we discovered that your impending payment
is being withheld by Imposters, claiming to be Mr. Lamido Sanusi (The New Governor of the Central bank of
Nigeria), Mr. Patrick Aziza, Mr. Frank Nweke, None existing officials of Oceanic Bank of Nigeria, Zenith Bank,
UK winning Lottery, Andy Lear of Hsbc bank, Coca-Cola winning lottery and Mr Abdoulie Janneh (UNECA)
among a list of others. With the help of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Local
Police Force these Impostors have been arrested and necessary legal actions will be taken to bring them down.
In our bid to transparency, I am pleased to inform you that a meeting was held as regards the best way to
affect the compensation exercise for transparency and most especially to avoid re-occurrence of the delay in
payment. In conclusion, we came to a final resolution as all the Financial Institutions involved was duly
represented. It might interest you to note that MasterCard International have hence been empowered to
assist the Federal Ministry of Finance and all the financial institutions involved; such as the Central Bank,
Zenith Bank, and Legit lottery organizations to immediately commence with the compensation of all the
beneficiaries awaiting the successful transfer of their funds.
The first Batch of payment; ($720,000.00) Seven hundred and seventy two thousand United States dollars,
Credited to MasterCard Account No. 5148 6547 8940 6543 with serial Numbers: 2419879 and
Reg. No.MCIMJ: 5148/4178 was approved to be issued to you as a valid international ATM MasterCard
accepted in more than a million ATM's, over 210 countries around the World, with a daily withdrawal
Limit of Ten thousand United States Dollars, $10,000.00.
The ATM card has already being packaged and approved to be delivered to your door step via First Flight
Couriers Ltd. which is a Registered and Credible courier company that has clearly proved their Integrity and
first class delivery services in the just concluded Last Quarter payment of the year 2010.
Reconfirm your delivery information as stated below for the delivery;
NOTE: Under normal circumstances, all beneficiaries are mandated to travel over to MasterCard Africa
Regional office with valid identification's to sign the release documents in person However, the Finance
Ministry insists on you securing a non Appearance Approval Letter so as to Cut-short Traveling expenses
and stress of traveling over to Africa. The non appearance approval slip attracts a fee of $280.00 only.
Having said all this, we implore you to expedite immediate action in sending the $280.00 via Western Union
Money Transfer or Money Gram. We hope that this is very clear to you . All modalities for the delivery have
been employed already. A receipt to this effect will be sent to you upon confirmation of the $280.00 fee
and the Courier Company will be contacting you too with the Parcel Delivery Information which will include
the Package Tracking Numbers to enable to track the MasterCard online till it gets to your nominated address.
We also advise that you stop further communications with these impostors and forward any
correspondence/proposal you receive from them to Dr. Peter Cohen in other for the FBI to bring justice
to the rate of Scam in the world at large.
For further enquirers or support, do contact your Claims Administrator for advice.
CLAIMS ADMINISTRATION: DR. PETER COHEN
NAME: DR. PETER COHEN
Tel: +234 704 002 0684
Mr. Ron Mills.
For: Mr. Robert S. Mueller III