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:
- "cost of transfer" (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. )
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- "abuja" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "The Minister for Finance" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2012 03:52:13 -0400
Subject: PAYMENT NOTIFICATION AND AFFIDAVIT FOR WAIVE OF COST OF TRANSFER
From the office of:
The Minister for Finance
Federal Republic of Nigeria
PAYMENT NOTIFICATION AND AFFIDAVIT FOR WAIVE OF COST OF TRANSFER.
I am Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala the new Minister for Finance Federal Republic of Nigeria. After the last federal executive council meeting presided over by Nigerian president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) based on the reports and counter reports from the National Assemblies (Senate/House of Reps,) from our unsuspecting foreign contractors whose contractual funds are not been paid to them and the new changes by the paying banks. The (FEC) condemned and was not happy about the unpaid foreign debts, some of which has been long over due and has dragged for too long, some running into years.
We discovered from our investigations, that this was as a result of inefficiency on the part of the commercial banks, which hitherto, had handled this project in the past, unsuccessfully. The federal government of Nigeria, seriously frowns at this ugly development and cannot fold its arms and watch its name being tarnished in the international community, hence this urgent/concrete step to save our dear foreign beneficiaries and our image.
We have also discovered with great displeasure, the series of demands by these banks and their cohorts, thereby subjecting our beneficiaries to untold extortion. The federal government has thus mandated this office to obtain an AFFIDAVIT from the federal high court of justice of Nigeria to waive all payments of any sort at the banks before transferring beneficiaries' funds, including cost of transfer charges and other fees until your fund hits your bank account.
We have thus reached a compromise with the apex bank and have taken up the cost of transfer and telex charges running into thousands of dollars this will serve as a respite to our beneficiaries.
This vital document (AFFIDAVIT) will bear a copy of either your driver's license or international passport for security reasons and shall be duly authenticated also at the federal high court of justice of Nigeria. This is part of our fight against corruption and to redeem our image in the globe.
You are therefore urgently requested to furnish us with the following:
1. Your full personal details, names,phone number etc.
2. Your full banking details, where you wish your fund to be wired.
3. Your total contract/inheritance)--please indicate if your payment is for
contract or inheritance.
4. Total amount expected
5. Copy of your international passport or driver's license
6. Your Occupation
The above information will enable us prepare the affidavit of waiver in your favor, and have your fund finally transferred.
I await your urgent response with the above required information, while counting on your maximum cooperation in our fight against corruption.
Finally, you are warned to stop any further communication with any one, bank and agencies demanding for money to transfer your fund in order not to jeopardize our good efforts.
Note: The above affidavit and court order will be issued to you by the federal ministry of justices is all you need to have your fund released.
Good luck and be well guided.
Mrs, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Honorable Minister for Finance
Federal Republic of Nigeria.