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:
- 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:
- "clearance 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. )
- "notarization fees" (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. )
- ",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)
- "economic and 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. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms.Carman Lapointe-Young" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 19:08:00 -0000
Subject: GOOD NEWS FROM UN AGENT IN LONDON
UNITED NATIONS 2012 SCAM VICTIMS COMPENSATION PAYMENT
VIA OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
Internal Audit, Monitoring,Consulting And Investigations Division.
Attn: Funds Beneficiary,
With all due respect, my name is Ms.Carman Lapointe-Young from the United Nation International Oversight service New York; I wish to inform you that I just arrived London The United Kingdom few days ago with the United Nation Secretary General on a two days official visit to London with the queen of England, but was directed to Central London-England, United Kingdom yesterday from Manchester on a special duty, after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe, Oceania, Antarctica, South America and the United States of America respectively, against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the rate of scam Activities going on in these two nations. You can go through our website http://www.un.org/sg/senstaff_details.asp?smgID=147
I have spoken with the adviser on international matters to the Prime minister here in London and have also spoken to the president of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria since the problem originated from Nigeria which he is the president of On our telephone conversation, He told me that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund since the assumption of office as the president sometime this year. Right now, as directed by our secretary general Mr. Ban Ki-Moon after his recent meeting with the President of America on his recent trip to America for the United Nation Peace keeping talk with the world leaders, We are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorize the Government of England through an apex bank here in England to effect the payment of your compensation of an amount of (US$8,500,000,00) approved by both the British government and the UN in your favor Eith
Sincerely, you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian and British Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One FAKE ROBERT MULLER who claimed to work with the FBI from USA to frustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account. On the acceptance of this email, I will advise you to reconfirm me with your present phone number and address to enable me cross-check with what I have here in our database.
I have a very limited time to stay in London here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message so that I can advise you on what next to do as soon as you can take care of the Notarization fees of US$490 as written above.
Reply through this Email address only :(firstname.lastname@example.org)
United Nations Under-Secretary-
General for Internal Oversight.