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.
- 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:
- "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. )
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- send a copy of your response to official email: firstname.lastname@example.org attn: how are you today? hope all is well with you and (Aol; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Ban Ki-Moon" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2012 20:19:54 +1000
Subject: Compensation Payment
ZENITH BANK COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS. Send
a copy of your response to official email: email@example.com
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family?, You may not
understand why this mail came to you.
We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago
with the then secretary to the UNITED NATIONS.
This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the
world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$
350,000.00(Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States
Dollars) This includes every foriegn 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 etc.
Your name and email was in the list submitted by our Monitoring Team of
Economic and Financial Crime Commission observers and this is why we are
contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed.
You are advised to contact Mr. Jim Ovia of ZENITH BANK NIGERIA PLC, as he is
our representative in Nigeria, contact him immediately for your Cheque/
International Bank Draft of USD$350,000.00 (Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand
United States Dollars) This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose
ok? so he will send it to you and you can clear it in any bank of your
Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your
correct mailing address where you want him to send the Draft to you.
Contact Mr. Jim Ovia immediately for your Cheque:
Person to Contact Mr. Jim Ovia
Goodluck and kind regards,
Making the world a better place
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary (UNITED NATIONS).