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:
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Pedro freeman" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 18:28:30 +0200
Subject: Please Get Back To Me ASAP
Contract/ Inheritance/ Cash Prize Award/ Payment)
Did you authorize one Mr. Robert J Smith to meet us as your representatives? With documents of claim purported to have been signed by you for the released of your part-payment of US$2,500,000.00 (Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)? Because your money has been approved already for Payment by the Federal Ministry of Finance. However, we received an email from one Mr. Robert J.Smith who told us that he is your Next of kin and that you died in a car accident few months ago.
Reconfirm back to us to avoid any irregularities, as your money is now ready to be transferred to you. With the instruction given to us. By the Accountant General of the Federation and the international monitoring fund (IMF) in collaboration with the federal bureau investigation (FBI) to pay all foreigners there outstanding payment.
We wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you reconfirm your payment details so that we can authenticate your claim legally. He has also submitted his account for us to transfer the fund to him. We want to hear from you before we can make the transfer to confirm if you are alive and aware of this development.
We hereby officially notifying you about the present arrangement to pay you your over due Prize/inheritance fund which you could not complete the process of the released of your transfer pin code through the Digitalis Payment System.
We have decided to pay your funds but through ( International ATM Master Express Credit Card) Use in any ATM machine with the maximum of USD$30,000:00 per day, or Certified Bank Draft. This arrangement was initiated/constituted by the World Bank and Paris Club, due to fraudulent activities going on within the African Region.
The World Bank and Paris Club introduced this payment arrangement as to enable all Prize winners / inheritance beneficiary to receive their fund without any interference.
Do re-confirm the below information.
1) Your full name.
2) Phone number.
With all the above information your money will be sent to you as the real beneficiary accordingly.
Get back to me immediately for more directives on how you will receive your part payment without futher delay.
Mr. Pedro freeman
Finance Department Director
International Monetary Fund. IMF