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:
- ",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)
- "cheque " (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. )
- "email@example.com" (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.
- 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: "Pastor Henry Green" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 22 May 2011 00:38:57 +0800
Subject: UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT
UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT,
IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK
From: Special Envoy to Secretary-General ROY SMITH
This is to bring to your notice that we are delegated from the UNITED NATIONS in Central Bank to pay 50 victims from your country who has being Victims of Internet scam .The United Nations has decided to pay you $8,500,000 USD (Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) each. You are listed and approved for this payment as one of the scammed victims to be paid this amount, get back to this office as soon as possible for the immediate payment of your $8,500,000 USD compensation funds. We have been having a meeting for the past Seven months which ended Three days ago with the former secretary to the UNITED NATIONS in the person of Mr. Kofi Anna.
This email is to all the people that have been scammed or extorted money from because of your contract payment execution in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$8.5.MILLON This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems or irregularities etc.
We found your email in our list and that is why we are contacting you, this has been agreed upon and has been signed by the United Nations Board of Directors and Trustees.
You have to contact Pastor Henry Green, our payment agent in West Africa, as he is our UNITED NATIONS representative in West Africa, contact him immediately for your cheque US$8.5.MILLON This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose. He will send it to you and you can clear it in any bank of your choice.
Send a copy of your response to official email:
SECURITY & FINACIAL CONTACT AGENT: Pastor Henry Green
You are advised to send your communication particulars,
Your file Reference below (RE-1077_V)
Contact Pastor Henry Green immediately for your Cashier Cheque.
Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft. Making the world a better place for the sake of humanity. Give him your File Reference (RE-1077-V) and you are free to contact him via telephone number which he will provide to you upon the receipt of your email.
Mr. Kofi Anna
Secretary United Nations
General Roy Smith.
(Financial Officer)United Nations...