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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "clearance document" (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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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. )
- "cashiers check" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- *email:email@example.com* *attn: funds beneficiary.* *dear, sir.* * re: your (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: NIGERIA FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE UNIT NFIU <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 06:35:29 -0700
Subject: URGENTLY PICK UP YOUR CASHIERS CHEQUE NOW.
*Federal Ministry Of Finance.
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Plot 8117,Ecowas Street,Maitama,
Website: **www.fmf.gov.org* <http://www.fmf.gov.org/>
*Attn: Funds Beneficiary.*
* Re: Your International Cashiers Check Drawn And Ready For Pick Up By You.*
Be officially informed that as the Finance Minister Federal Republic Of
Nigeria i have yesterday been Tuesday 14th August 2012 issued your
International Certified Cashiers worth the sum of US$2.5Million (Two
Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) which is your over due Inheritance
Funds,your Inheritance funds was drewn as International Certified Cashiers
Cheque because of the prevalent fraud associated in ATM Card/Wire transfer
mode of payment hence you only need to receive your International Cashiers
Cheque and deposit same with your bank for immediate clearance even if you
dont have an account with the bank hence you will use the funds in the
cheque to open up an account,your International cashiers cheque was drawn
from the Nigeria Consolidated Oil Account with HSBC Bank in London
cashiable within an hour over your bank counter upon presentations by you
the beneficiary,because of insincerity by some Government Officials i have
henceforth send your Cashiers Cheque to our Apex Insurance
Corporations(NICON INSURANCE) Managing Director Mr.Jimoh Ibrahim for onward
shipment to you without delays as the check has been stamped,signed and
sealed for your immediate shipment to your address which you have the
reconfirm to the MD of Nicon Insurance,prior to the above you are requested
to contact Jimoh Ibrahim with the below details for the immediate shipment
of your cashiers check by him and him alone as the check has been insured
by Nicon Insurance already at our own cost against theft or lost on transit.
*Barrister, Jimoh Ibrahim.
Managing Director Nicon Insurance Corporations of Nigeria,Nicon.
Forward to him your receiving home or office address where you want to him
to courier your ready cashiers check to you in your country and send to him
ONLY the sum of US$195 (One Hundred And Ninety Five Dollars) which he will
use to courier your parcel to you via FedEx courier company hence we have
anagreement with them to that effect and that is why they charge the above
sum which is below there normal cost and to enable you send it out
immediately now that your cheque is ready,already Nicon Insurance has
insured your parcel as i instructed them including all the Clearance
Documents that will cover your Cashiers Check,to avoid scam again the
amount you will send to Jimoh Ibrahim is just the delivery fees which is
the sum of US$195 ONLY hence i have given him a stern instructions to
return every unclaimed cashiers check if you fail to send the courier fees
to him for your shipment,call him on phone as soon as you receive this
email and furnish him with your address and the US$195 courier fees to
enable him mail your parcel to you without delays,once you get it you go to
your bank or any bank and deposit it for immediate clearance as it is an
International Certified Cashiers Check that can be cashed in any bank in
the world because it is drawn by our bankers HSBC Bank London from our Oil
Reserve Account Number:8834008700 which iam administering as the Finance
Minister Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Do update my office as soon as you have confirmed your cashiers cheque and
if you have any questions feel free to contacty me as well but be rest
assured that your funds is now ready with the cheque i have already written
out in your name to the tune of US$2.5Million ONLY.
*Dr.Mrs.Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.
Federal Republic of Nigeria.*