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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- ",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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "economic financial crime 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. )
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "FBI WASHINGTON DC" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 03:03:38 -0700
Subject: WE NEED PROVE OF OWNERSHIP OF FUNDS
ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONETARY CRIMES DIVISION
FBI HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON, D.C.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
601 4th Street NW
Washington, DC 20535
Fax 0872 111 5935
Assistant Director in Charge
James W. McJunkin
Special Agents in Charge
- Philip Selton
- Brenda Heck
- Ronald T. Hosko
BANK OF NIGERIA TRANSFERRED 10,500,000.00 US DOLLARS TO BANK OF AMERICA IN YOUR FAVOR AS THE BENEFICIARY BY INHERITANCE MEANS.BANKOF NIGERIA USED WHAT WE CALL SECRET DIPLOMATIC TRANSIT PAYMENT S.D.T.P METHOD TO PAY THIS FUND BY WIRE TRANSFER. SECRET DIPLOMATIC PAYMENTS ARE NOT MADE UNLESS THE FUNDS ARE RELATED TO TERRORIST ACTIVITIES.
THE QUESTION I ASK YOU IS THIS, WHY MUST YOUR PAYMENT BE MADE IN A SECRET TRANSFER, IF THE TRANSACTION IS LEGITIMATE, IF YOU ARE NOT A TERRORIST, THEN WHY DID YOU NOT RECEIVE THE MONEY DIRECTLY INTO YOUR ACCOUNT? WHY DID YOU INSTRUCT THEM TO USE A CODED MEANS TO TRANSFER YOUR FUND? FUNDS LIKE THIS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN RELATED TO TERRORIST ACTIVITIES/MONEY LAUNDERING, WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO GET INTO TROUBLE AS SOON AS THESE FUNDS ARE CREDITED INTO YOUR ACCOUNT BECAUSE YOU MIGHT BE INNOCENT, WHICH IS MY PRESUMPTION FOR NOW,BUT YOU NEED TO PROOF THIS TO THE FBI.
F.B.I STOPPED THE TRANSFER OF $10,500,000.00 USD THROUGH A SECRET DIPLOMATIC TRANSIT ACCOUNT (S.D.T.A) THAT WAS USED TO WIRE THIS FUND TO YOU. WE ADVICE YOU TO CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY, AS YOUR FUNDS ARE STOPPED AND HELD IN OUR CUSTODY, YOU ARE TO PROVIDE US WITH THE DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY SEAL OF TRANSFER (DIST) DOCUMENT THAT ACCOMPANIED YOURE FUNDS WITHIN THE NEXT 3 DAYS.
TO PROOF TO US THAT THE FUNDS YOU ARE RECEIVING FROM NIGERIA IS TERRORIST/DRUG FREE AND NOT PROCEEDS FROM MONEY LAUNDERING. FAILURE TO PRODUCE THE DIST DOCUMENT, WE SHALL IMPOUND THE TRANSFER AND PROSECUTE YOU FOR CRIMINAL OFFENSE, BUT ON THE CONTRARY YOURE FUNDS WILL BE RELEASED TO IMMEDIATELY WE RECEIVE THE DIST DOCUMENT. WE HAVE DECIDED TO CONTACT YOU DIRECTLY BY EMAIL BECAUSE OF TIME AND YOUR PHONE NUMBER HERE ISNT GOING THROUGH, ACQUIRE THE DIST DOCUMENT AS PROOF THAT YOU ARE THE RIGHTFUL BENEFICIARY,
THE DIST IS VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE THE DIST DOCUMENT GUARANTEES YOU OF THE FOLLOWING
60T YOUR CREDIT PAYMENT IS IRREVOCABLE
61H YOU ARE EMPOWERED TO RECEIVE THE FUNDS WITHOUT FURTHER SCRUTINY
62J YOUR BANK CAN EITHER BE IN USA/UK/OUTSIDE OR ANYWHERE YOU ARE HAVING FULL RESIDENCY
REPLY IMMEDIATELY WITH THIS DIST DOCUMENT IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR TRANSFERRED FUNDS WE INTERCEPTED
Robert s. Mueller, iii
Federal bureau of investigation
United States department of justice
Washington, D.C. 20535
cc Canadian police association
cc Asia pacific group on money laundering (apg)
cc international monetary fund (IMF)
cc international organization of securities commissions (iosco)
cc economic financial crime commission (efcc)