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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- 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.
- +447024011493 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "International Monetary Fund (IMF)" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 10:35:32 +0200
Subject: REPORT ON YOUR PAYMENT
From The Desk of: Mr. Andrew Tweedie,
Finance Department Director
International Monetary Fund(IMF)
Milbank Tower, 12th Floor 21-24;
Milbank London SW1P 4QP ENGLAND
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 186 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. As one of the outcomes of the annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) summit held on Jun 8-10, 2011, it was decided that IMF will monitor the payment of funds currently floating in the international financial database. Consequently, we write to notify you that you are among those that have a huge sum of money credited in their names for transfer and is currently floating in the international banking community.
These funds originated from unpaid contractor sum of US$5,500,000.00, inheritance/next of kin, Late government employees retirement fund and lottery beneficiaries that originated from Europe, Asia Plus Middle east, American and Africa.
meanwhile, during the rectification of our payment system we discovered that one Mr. John Walter has forwarded his banking information to our bank stating that you instructed him to claim this funds on your behalf. Please find below his Banking information for your-re-confirmation:
Mr. John Walter
Bank Name: Citi Bank
Account Numbe: 1043903
Address: United state of america
Urgently confirm to us if you have authorized Mr. John Walter to claim Your funds on your behalf to avoid making payment into any wrong accounts Because your name was found in the original list of beneficiary whose fund is Over due for payment.
You are urgently required to reconfirm to us the followings:
(1) Your Full Name:______________________
(2) Residential Address:_______________________________________
(3) home Phone: _______________ Fax: ____________Mobile #:______________________________
(4) Profession:_____________ Age: _____________ Marital Status:______________________
(5) Company/Business Name:__________________________
We do hereby ask you to contact this office within 14 days of receiving this notification to enable us advice you on how to take your claim or consider your fund confiscated.Remember to send your current direct phone number for easy communication via my private email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Andrew Tweedie,
Finance Department Director.
This communiqu?is from the International Monetary Fund, beneficiaries are advised to adhere strictly to directives. Any fund beneficiary who ignores instruction will be doing so at his/her own risk.