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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "affidavit of claim" (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. )
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "million us 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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: IMF WORLD REGULATORY OFFICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2011 21:17:10 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: IMF REGULATORY AUTHORITY!
IMF WORLD REGULATORY OFFICE
INTERNATIONAL FUNDS REGULATORY
INTER-CONTINENTAL DEBT RECONCILIATION DEPT.
FROM THE DESK OF:
MR.CHRISTAIN ANDERSON DIRECTOR Tell +22996846005
PROVISION OF AFFIDAVIT OF CLAIM CERTIFICATE FOR LEGAL COVER/
PROTECTION OF US$1.5M IN FAVOR OF YOU.
PLEASE LET US START BY APOLOGIZING TO YOUR HUMBLE AND NOBLE
PERSON, THIS IS BECAUSE YOUR PAYMENT FILE WORTH THE TOTAL SUM OF $1.5 MILLION US
DOLLARS HAS JUST BEEN BROUGHT TO MY DESK FOR CANCELLATION WHICH I HAVE TO TAKE
MY TIME TO LOOK INTO YOUR PAYMENT FILE TO KNOW WHY YOUR OVER DUE PAYMENT SHOULD
BE CANCELED AND I FOUND OUT THAT IT WAS BECAUSE OF YOUR INABILITY TO SECURE YOUR
RELEASE APPROVAL ORDER CERTIFICATE (RAOC) THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE RESOLVED TO HAVE
YOUR PAYMENT OF $1.5 MILLION US DOLLARS CANCELED.
HOWEVER , DUE TO HUMANITARIAN GROUND AND SYMPATHY AND BECAUSE I
DO NOT WANT YOUR PAYMENT CANCELED SO I IMMEDIATELY CALLED UP THE PRESIDENT
(PRESIDENT YAYI BONI) TO EXPLAIN YOUR MATTER TO HIM AS REGARDS YOUR PAYMENT AND
HE PERSONALLY CALLED UP A MEETING WHICH WAS RESOLVED THAT ALL PAYMENT CHARGES
AND ANY PAYMENT FEE BE REDUCED TO IT'S BAREST MENIAL IN OTHER TO ENABLE YOU
AFFORD TO PAY THE FEE SO THAT YOUR PAYMENT BE RELEASED TO
TO THIS END IT WILL INTEREST YOU TO KNOW THAT EVERY AND ANY
FEE/CHARGES REQUIRED OF YOU HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO ONLY THE SUM OF $58 THIS STEP
IS IN OTHER TO ENABLE YOU HAVE THIS ONLY FEE PAID SO THAT YOUR RELEASE APPROVAL
ORDER CERTIFICATE (RAOC) IS PROCURED AND ACQUIRED IN OTHER TO ENABLE THE SPEEDY
ACCELERATED TRANSFER OF YOUR $1.5 MILLION US DOLLARS INTO ANY BANK ACCOUNT OF
PLEASE WE WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE TILL THE END OF TODAY TO
EFFECT THE REQUIRED PAYMENT SO WE CAN CLEAR,RELEASE AND EFFECT YOUR FUND WORTH
$1.5M US IN OUR CARE TO ANY BANK ACCOUNT OF YOUR CHOICE SO WE ADVICE YOU TO PAY
THE $58 THROUGH THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER OR MONEY GRAM MONEY TRANSFER TO
THE BELOW INFORMATION AND SEND BACK THE PAYMENT DETAILS TO THIS
IMMEDIATELY THE PAYMENT IS EFFECTED BY YOU NOW.
$58.00USD TO OUR CASHIER AGENT NAME THROUGH WESTERN UNION MONEY
RECEIVERS NAME:Mike O.Ike
TEXT QUESTION: GOOD
WE WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT WE ARE INDEED VERY VERY SORRY FOR ANY
INCONVENIENCES ANY DELAY THIS MUST HAVE CAUSED YOU IN HAVING YOUR FUND PAID OUT
TO YOU LONG BEFORE NOW.
YOU WILL NEVER EVER REGRET PAYING THE FEE THIS IS A PROMISE TO
YOU AFTER ALL YOUR PAINS IN THE PAST AS WE ARE HERE TO SERVE YOU AS OUR WORD IS
OUR BOND TO YOU.
CONFIRM THE RECEIPT OF THIS E-MAIL BY YOU IMMEDIATELY AND BE REST
ASSURED THAT YOU WILL BE SMILING TO YOUR BANK ONCE YOU COMPLY WITH THE ABOVE
DIRECTIVES NOW.YOUR URGENT RESPONSE TO THIS E-MAIL NOW WILL GO A LONG WAY IN
HELPING US ENSURE YOUR PAYMENT IS RELEASED TO YOU WITHIN 24 HOURS OF YOU ACTING
AS INSTRUCTED YOU NOW.
RESPOND BACK IMMEDIATELY.
ANDERSON Tell +22996846005
IMF WORLD REGULATORY OFFICE