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:
- 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.
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
Fraud email example:
From: "United States Secret Service" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 02:35:14 +0100
Subject: Re: This Is For Your Notice
United States Secret Service
245 Murray Drive, Building 410,
Washington, DC 20223
We write to officially inform you that we have just completed an investigation with the help of our Electronic Crimes Task Force regarding your (Mail address Subscription ) lottery winning payment valued at the sum of $150,000.00. The said lottery winning was generated and approved by the United Nations, and the lottery winning approval number for the $150,000.00 is UN-344972AB.
However, acting in our capacity as the Apex body authorized by the U.S. Government to reconcile foreign payments, we are pleased to inform you that full clearance has been granted for the release of the full payment of your lottery winning valued at the sum of $150,000.00 dollars. Please take note that your payment has been approved and authorized for immediate release and transfer into your bank account via the Federal Reserve Bank.
For your confirmation, we have authorized the Federal Reserve Bank. to deduct all supposed fee associated with the fund transfer from the Principal value of the $150,000.00 before transferring the balance to your designated bank account via SWIFT telegraphic wire transfer. Please take note that this deduction will be made possible through processing of a "Waiver Clearance Form" for a fee of $199.99 ONLY.Please ensure that you confirm the details of your receiving bank account, as well as your personal details via email as soon as you have receive this message.
Julia A. Pierson
Director, United States Secret Service