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:
- "security keeping 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. )
- "express courier delivery" (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. )
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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. )
- "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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "United Nations Headquarters" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "United Nations Headquarters" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2013 22:17:14 -0800
Subject: WORLD BANK ASSISTED PROGRAMME
WORLD BANK ASSISTED PROGRAMME
DIRECTORATE OF INTERNATIONAL
PAYMENT AND TRANSFERS.
DEBT RECONCILIATION/AUDIT UNIT
United Nations Headquarters,
New York, NY 10017 , USA
YOUR REF: WB/NF/UN/XX028 UNITED NATIONS.
We were authorized by the newly appointed United Nation Secretary General, and the Governing body of the United Nations Debt Reconciliation Unit, to investigate the unnecessary delay on your payment, recommended and approved in your favor. During the course of our investigation, we discovered with dismay that your payment has been unnecessarily delayed by corrupt officials of the Bank and Government regulatory organs in Nigeria who are trying to divert your funds into their private accounts.
This is to bring to your notice that we are delegated from the UNITED NATIONS in HSBC To pay 30 victims from your country who has being Victims of Internet scam .The United Nations has decided to pay you $2.500.000 USD (Two 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 in this Christmas period, get back to this office as soon as possible for the immediate payment of your $2.500.000 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 15 selected 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 $2.5 MILLON USD This includes every foreign contractors that may have not yet 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 from the WORLD BANK
We sent you series of emails in this regards but you did not respond back to us; However, in the course of our routine securitization into our Dispatch Alert, we
discovered that the document of your fund is intact and very much available and we have attach the scan copy of your BANK DRAFT along with this email for you to view it before REV.FRANK BROWN fill it and send it to you, For our information, note that United Nations Board of Director have sign your BANK DRAFT in the favor of your name and hand it over to REV. FRANK BROWN Chief Protocol Officer, Dispatch Unit to fill it, you have to contact REV. FRANK BROWN in charge of your BANK DRAFT, as he is our UNITED NATIONS representative in UNITED STATE and AFRICA region, contact him immediately for your Cheque $2.5 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.
REV BISHOP. FRANK BROWN.
Chief Protocol Officer, Dispatch Unit.
Direct Phone Number: +234-703-354-6227
As soon as you establish a contact with him, ensure that you provide your current address as below to the contact in other for the Officer to effect the change and Re-direct the parcel to your home address.
We expect your urgent attention to this email to enable us monitor this payment effectively. Most importantly you shall be requested to pay the sum of $195 USD (Only) by REV. FRANK BROWN as the Security Keeping Fee of your BANK DRAFT.
Note : Have it in Mind that Ocean Board Express Courier Delivery Firm have been contracted to carry out the Delivery of your Bank Draft to your Delivery Address Which you will sending to Rev Bishop Frank Brown.so to avoid any undue delay,I will advice that you act fast in contacting Rev Bishop Frank Brown with your delivery details.
Secretary-General United Nation
MR, BAN KI MOON
UNITED STATE OF AMERICA