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:
- "western union" (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. )
- "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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR.TERENCE P. McCULLEY" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 16 May 2013 08:11:19 +0100
Subject: OFFICIAL NOTICE
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
PLOT 1075 DIPLOMATIC DRIVE
CENTRAL DISTRICT AREA,
I WRITE TO NOTIFY YOU OFFICIALLY ABOUT THE MEETING HELD ON 4TH OF JANUARY 2013,FOLLOWING THE PETITION WE RECEIVED FROM UNITED NATIONS HUMANS RIGHT COMMISSIONS (UNHRC) AND THE INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION PANEL OVER THE UNNECESSARY PROTOCOLS AND DELAY IN RELEASING BENEFICIARIES OVER DUE PAYMENT,I AM HAPPY TO INFORM YOU THAT AFTER DUE VERIFICATION ON YOUR PAYMENT FILE, I WILL BE COMING TO YOUR COUNTRY FOR AN OFFICIAL MEETING ON THURSDAY NEXT WEEK AND I WILL BRING YOUR FUNDS ALONG WITH ME BUT THIS TIME I WILL NOT GO THROUGH CUSTOMS BECAUSE AS AN AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA I HAVE THE IMMUNITY TO GO THROUGH ANY SECURITY WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM,AND FOR YOUR INFORMATION AFTER AS SOON AS I AM THROUGH WITH THE MEETING I SHALL THEN PROCEED TO YOUR ADDRESS, YOU HAVE TO RECONFIRM YOUR CURRENT CELL PHONE NUMBER FOR AN EASY COMMUNICATION,WHEN I ARRIVED IN YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR CURRENT RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS WHERE YOU WANT ME TO BRING YOUR PACKAGE FUNDS AND ALSO YOUR IDENTITY BECAUSE YOU HAVE SUFFERED
AND SPENT A LOT TRYING TO CLAIM T
SECONDLY, YOU ARE MANDATED TO STOP ANY FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH ANY PERSON, BANKS OR ANY AGENCIES REGARD'S TO YOUR FUNDS UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SHOULD YOU REVEAL IT TO ANY ONE FOR SECURITY REASON.YOUR PACKAGE MUST BE REGISTERED AS AN AMBASSADORIAL PACKAGE FOR ME TO DEFEAT ALL PROTOCOL ALONG AND THE COST OF REGISTRATION AND DOCUMENTS THAT WILL BACK UP THE FUNDS TO YOUR RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS IS $55O USD,THE FEE MUST BE PAID IN THE NEXT 48HOURS VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER SO THAT I CAN CONCLUDE ALL NECESSARY ARRANGEMENT WITH MINISTER OF FINANCE WITHOUT WASTING TIME
SEND THE FEE VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER TO THE PAYMENT BELOW INFORMATION:
RECEIVER'S NAME: ANDREW KALU
ADDRESS: ABUJA, NIGERIA
TEXT QUESTION: GOOD
AMOUNT TO SEND:$550 DOLLARS
LASTLY,AS SOON AS YOU SEND THE FEE MAKE SURE YOU SCAN AND ATTACH THE WESTERN UNION PAYMENT SLIP AND SEND TO ME BY ATTACHMENT FILE TO AVOID MISTAKE, MEANWHILE, MY FLIGHT SCHEDULES IS ON WEDNESDAY NEXT WEEK AND I EXPECT YOU TO COMPLY BEFORE THEN SO THAT THE DELIVERY AND ARRANGEMENT WILL BE COMPLETED, IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY BEFORE THE TIME, THEN IT WILL NOT BE MY FAULT IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR PACKAGE FUNDS BY THURSDAY NEXT WEEK, THANKS FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION AND HAVE A NICE DAY.
MR.TERENCE P. McCULLEY
US AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA