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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "anti-terrorism certificate" ("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. )
- "clear source of funds certificate" ("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. )
- "insurance fee " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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: "Mrs. Mary J. Jackson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2011 19:57:13 -0400
Subject: NEW WORLD REVOLUTION PLAN SEEKS YOUR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
I have been informed by the CHEVRON/TEXACO COMPANY LTD to anticipate your message as this office has been assigned to handle the payment of your grant donation prize and also to alert you that your previous mail was received here on this office desk and content clearly documented.
I would advise you follow the instructions given to you and your Donation parcel will be sent to you fully sealed within the next 24hours. A cheque has been issued in your name and we have concluded the processing of all documents that will facilitate the clearance of the cheque in your Bank.
This documents includes the following:
1.DONATION CHEQUE VALUED THE SUM OF US$900,000.00.
2.DONATION CERTIFICATE FROM THE CHEVRON/TEXACO EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION COMPANY LTD(CTEPC).
3.CLEAR SOURCE OF FUNDS CERTIFICATES(C.S.F.C.)
5.BENEFICIARY PAYMENT FORM(KINDLY NOTE THAT THIS IS THE FORM THAT STATES THE BENEFICIARIES NAME AND BANK NAME THAT WILL RECEIVE THE CHEQUE.)
6.LETTER OF AFFIDAVITS FROM THE NIGERIAN HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, STATING THAT THE DONATION WAS RECEIVED LEGALLY FROM THE UNIVERSAL DONATION PROGRAMME, AND DULY SIGNED BY THE LEGAL ATTORNEY TO THE ECOWAS.
STATING THAT THE DONATION WAS RECEIVED LEGALLY FROM THE UNIVERSAL DONATION PROGRAMME, AND DULY SIGNED BY THE LEGAL ATTORNEY TO THE ECOWAS. These documents have been securely sealed and packed for security reasons which makes it impossible for anyone to view it until its been delivered to you.Find below our delivery options which you are required to choose the one that is most convenient to you to enable the delivery of your parcel to the address which is sent by you to this office.
I want you to indicate once more your mode that is to say your choice of delivery for the purpose of documentation in the ECOWAS HEAD OFFICE.
1) DHL Cost of delivery mailing: US$100.00
2) FEDEX Cost of delivery mailing: US$50.00
3) UPS Cost of delivery mailing: US$7.00
All three options are 24hours delivery after shipment NB: THE INSURANCE FEE (US$320:00) IS ABSOLUTELY COMPULSORY, AND MUST BE PAID BEFORE THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR PARCEL WHILE THE MAILING FEE SHOULD BE PAID TO THE DELIVERY AGENT THAT WILL DELIVER YOUR PARCEL TO YOUR DOORSTEP). Due to the diplomatic content of your parcel, it will be illegal to send it with-out being insured as it will violate the federal delivery rules govern diplomatic parcel delivery.This means payment for the insurance fee must be made before the parcel is sent to avoid risk.
This is because of some bad experience we had in the past. We can not afford to re-issue your Bank Draft cheque if any thing goes wrong. In this case payment for the insurance fee is absolutely compulsory, while the mailing fee should be paid to any of the above listed delivery company you choose at the point of delivery.
Your prize is protected by a hard-cover insurance policy, which makes it impossible to deduct any amount from the money before remittance.This means that the above insurance charges cannot be deducted from the prize and hence must be provided by you before your parcel is shipped. This is in accordance with section 13(1)(n) of the international gambling act as adopted in 1993 and amended on 3RD july 1996 by the constitutional assembly. This is to protect receipients and to avoid misappropriation of funds.
You have to contact PAYMENT STAFF AT THE ECOWAS HEAD OFFICE now with your information and choice of delivery company among the list above for the delivery of your package with this information bellow;
DISPATCH AND CONTROLLER MG: Honorable Collins
NAME: Honorable Payment Minister General of Nigeria
EMAIL ADRESS: email@example.com
PHONE NUMBER: +2348060617554
1) Your Full Name & Address
2) Phone, Fax and Mobile
3) Profession, Age and Marital Status
4).Amount Due for Payment
Kindly mail back immediately you receive this mail .
Mrs. Mary J. Jackson
ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS HEAD OFFICE)