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:
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "United Nations (UN)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2014 08:36:36 -0400
Subject: Directorate of International Payment
United Nations Assisted Program
Directorate of International Payment
United Nations Liaison Office - Africa
Be informed that following the intervention of the UN on the debt
profile of some African countries through the African Union(AU).They
(African Presidents) resolved with the UN to pay off their debts with
the accumulated interest owed through various ministries
We are however,not oblivious of some nefarious activities of some
impostors who deviced various means of exthortion from the unsuspecting
beneficiary thereby compounding his or her problems.To ensure that this
does not presist,we have established a Directorate of International
Payment in Nigeria to oversee the payment.
For paucity of fund,they are starting with payment of the accumulated
interest.After due diligence and computation,your accumulated interest
was put at $4.7m.You are therefore required to contact our African
Directorate of International Payment Director.
with the following details and your choice of preferred payment receipt
ie atm,cash,cheque or wire transfer.
Your full Name:.........
Copy of your Identification......
UN Envoy (African Region)