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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- ",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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned 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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Special Envoy to Secretary-General Roy Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2012 10:08:58 -0400
Subject: UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK
UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT,
IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK
From: Special Envoy to Secretary-General Roy Smith.
This is to bring to your notice that we are delegated from the UNITED
NATIONS in Central Bank to pay 50 victims from your country who has being
Victims of Internet scam .The United Nations has decided to pay you
$8,500,000 USD (Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars)
each. You are listed and approved for this payment as one of the scammed
victims to be paid this amount, get back to this office as soon as
possible for the immediate payment of your $8,500,000 USD compensation
funds. We have been having a meeting for the past Seven months which ended
Three days ago with the former secretary to the UNITED NATIONS.
This email is to all the people that have been scammed or extorted money
from because of your contract payment execution in any part of the world,
the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of $8.5
MILLON USD This includes every foreign contractors that may have not
received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished
transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government
problems or irregularities etc.
We found your email in our list and that is why we are contacting you,
this has been agreed upon and has been signed by the United Nations Board
of Directors and Trustees.
You have to contact Rev Mark Bless, our payment agent in Abuja Nigeria, as
he is our UNITED NATIONS representative in NIGERIA, contact him
immediately for your cheque $8.5.MILLION USD, This funds are in a Bank
Draft for security purpose. He will send it to you and you can clear it in
any bank of your choice.
Send a copy of your response to official email:
SECURITY & FINANCIAL CONTACT AGENT:
You are advised to send your communication particulars,
Your file Reference below (RE-1077_V)
Contact Rev Mark Bless immediately for your Cashier Cheque.
Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon
as you cash your Bank Draft. Making the world a better place for the sake
of humanity. Give him your File Reference (RE-1077-V) and you are free to
contact him via telephone number which he will provide to you upon the
receipt of your email.
Secretary United Nations
Ban Ki Moon
(Financial Officer)United Nations.