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:
- "clearance 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. )
- "cost of transfer" (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 states 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)
- "you have to be fast" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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: "Ms. Carman Lapointe-Young" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2014 13:20:41 +0100
Subject: UNITED NATIONS SCAM VICTIMS COMPENSATION PAYMENT NOTICE *******
Official WEB Site Locator for the UN System of Organizations
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
Internal Audit,Monitoring,Consulting And Investigations Division
Dear: Unpaid Beneficiary,
With due respect, I write to bring to your notice that I came to Nigeria few days ago from USA, after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe, and the United States of America respectively against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the rate of scam activities going on in these two nations.
I have met with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria who claimed that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund in your account. Right now, as directed by The United States FBI, We are working in collaborations with the Nigerian international monitoring fund (IMF) and have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorize the Government of Nigeria to effect your compensation payment of TEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS, (USD$10.500.000.00) approved by both the British government and the United Nations into your account without any hesitation.
The only fee you will pay to confirm your (USD$10.500.000) compensation fund in your Bank Account is only your COST OF TRANSFER fee which is US$189 Dollars to the United Nations.
Sincerely,you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working with One Mrs. LUCY ORNELAS, from TEXAS USA to frustrate you and divert your fund into their personal account.
Once again, all you will pay to receive your compensation payment of (USD$10.500.000.00) in your bank account is US$189 dollars only. We are so sure of everything and we are giving you a 100% money back guarantee if you do not receive payment/package within the next 48hours after you have made the payment of $189 for COST OF TRANSFER.
BELOW IS THE APPROVED INFORMATION TO SEND THE $189 AND BE ASSURED THAT YOU WILL CONFIRM YOUR FUNDS IN YOUR ACCOUNT IMMEDIATELY.
Receivers Name: JEROME OKEH
Amount: $189 USD
Send the payment details along with your home address_______, phone number__________ and your Banking information___________ to enable us transfer the said funds in to your designated bank account without any hesitation. Please you have to be fast on this matter so that we can get this transaction done as urgent as possible.
I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message because FBI instructed me to make sure that you confirm your compensation fund of TEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS, (USD$10.500.000.00) in your account before I return back to USA. You can call me here for more verification +234-807-925-0800 or send an email to this (email@example.com)
We sincerely apologies for the inconveniences you encountered in receiving your funds in the past.
Ms. Carman Lapointe-Young.
United Nations Under-Secretary-
General for Internal Oversight.
Direct Phone: +234-807-925-0800