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"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:

Fraud email example:

From: "INT. POLICE ASSO" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2012 10:47:23 -0800

Region No. 2 New York City
P.O. Box 804 Knickerbocker Station
New York City, NY 10002-0804
The office of the international police association (I.P.A) hereby writes to inform you that we have detained diplomatic attache Festus Martins at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Upon his person we confiscated a parcel containing a sizable amount of United States currency.
Based on our interview of Mr. Martins we have ascertained that the parcel of cash we have confiscated was intended for delivery to you. This is a serious accusation as it appears that you may have become involved in an international money laundering scheme. Of interest to us was the revelation that the money was sent to you by a REV. COLLINS MORRISON of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Nigeria. Apparently neither the attache (Martins) nor Reverend Morrison claim any prior knowledge of the contents of the parcel now in our possession. Mr. martins has also revealed that his first stop in the states was Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Ohio.
Given the quantity of money involved, Mr. Martins must remain in detention until we can ascertain rightful ownership of the money now in our possession. In particular, given that you have now been implicated by name, it is critical that you cooperate fully with our investigative team so that we can close the books on this case. To this end, we immediately require that you provide us evidence that you are indeed the intended recipient of this money. Specifically, we require that you deliver to us the Award Ownership Certificate which will prove that the money is indeed legally yours.
You can obtain the required document (Noon Residential Certificate/Proof Of Ownership Certificate) from the Office of the Senate President in Nigeria. This is the only office that can issue an original certificate for receipt of these funds. You are advised to forward immediately any and all certificates you currently have in your possession as well as any certificates pending immediately upon receipt of them. We cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of this situation nor the urgency with which you must address this issue.
Although you have a 5-day grace period within which to resolve this issue, a fine will be levied upon your account for each day beyond that grace period you fail to comply with the above requirements. If it becomes clear that you do not intend to cooperate with this investigation, we will begin to proceed with charges of conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States (18 U.S.C. 371), smuggling (31 U.S.C. 5332), and international money laundering (31 U.S.C. 5318A). As I am sure that you are aware, these are very serious charges and unless we learn of your innocence, you will be fully prosecuted.
If you have any questions, or, if you require us to intervene on your behalf with the Senate President in Nigeria to resolve this matter, please respond to this email immediately.
Upon receipt of any and all certificates of ownership, our legal concerns will be dropped and all monies will be surrendered to you without delay. If this is simply a misunderstanding, then we sincerely regret the inconvenience that this matter has caused you. In which case it will be our hope to resolve this case as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your understanding.
Sincerely yours,

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