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:
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.banki-Moon" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2011 15:19:44 +0530 (IST)
Subject: Reply immediately
This letter is address to you in order to change your life from today. I am Mr. Bank i-Moon, The Secretary General United Nations.
I discovered that your name and email address (in the Central Computer among the
list of unpaid contractors, inheritance next of kin beneficiaries that
was originated from Africa ( Nigerian Government) , Europe, Asia Plus
Middle east, Americans) among the list of individuals and companies
that your unpaid fund has been located to a suspense account.
Your name appeared among the beneficiaries who will receive a
part-payment of $10.5million (Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand United
States Dollars) and has been approved already for Payment, yesterday
two foreigners ( Mrs.Mary Peace and Mrs.Cathy McDonnell ) visited my
office in your stead to inform me that they are your Representatives
from United State Of American, whom you send to collect your Funds for
We in this Bank do not understand why you sent these ladies to come
and Collect your Funds on your behalf.If actually you want them to
help you Collect your Inheritance Bill Sum, at least you should have
informed me as the Secretary General of the united nations.
They actually tendered some Vital Documents which Proved that you
actually sent them for the Collection of this Funds. Honestly, it
really baffles me that you took such decision without my consent.
Here are the Document which they tendered to this Bank today:
1. LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION.
2. HIGH COURT INJUNCTION.
3. ORDER TO RELEASE.
Actually, these Documents which they tendered to this Noble Bank is a
clear Proof that you sent them to Collect this Funds for you.Finally,
I told them to come back tomorrow morning and they obey promised to come
As The Secretary General and obedient man of GOD, I was supposed to Release this
Funds to them but I refused to do so because I wanted to hear from you
Due to the Nature of my job, I will not want to make any mistake in
Releasing this Funds to anyone except you whom is the Recognized Bone
fade Beneficiary to this Funds.
Kindly clarify us on this issue before we make this Payment to these
foreigners whom came on your behalf.
In receipt of this confidential Letter, you are required to email me
back immediately you receive this Confidential Letter.
Mr. Bank i-Moon
united nations secretary