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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 document" (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. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "cashiers check" (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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- tel: 234-8090718221. email: email@example.com call him on phone once you receive this letter and forward (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "FROM,DR,MRS NGOZI OKONJO IWEALA.FINANCE MINISTER" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2014 08:14:53 -0700
Subject: CONTACT NICON INSURANCE AND PICK UP YOUR CERTIFIED CHEQUE.
Federal Ministry Of Finance.
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Plot 8117,Ecowas Street,Maitama,
Re:Your International Cashiers Check Drawn And Ready For Pick Up By You.
Be officially informed that as the Finance Minister Federal Republic Of Nigeria i have earlier today being Saturday 4th Oct 2014 drawn and issued your International Certified Cashiers Cheque worth the sum of US$3.5Million (Three Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars)in your name as the funds beneficiary which is your over due Contract/ Inheritance/Lottery Funds,your funds was paid and issued through International Certified Cashiers Bank Draft/Cheque payment instrument because of the prevalent fraud associated with ATM Card/Wire transfer mode of payments hence in my capacity as the Finance Minister and in my wisdom have decided to issue and release your funds via only International Certified Cashiers Cheque/Bank Draft cashiable over your bank counter as you only need to receive your International Cashiers Cheque and deposit same with any bank in your country for immediate Confirmations and Clearance even if you don't have an account with the bank hence you will use the funds in the cheque once you cash it to
Please note that your International Cashiers Certified Cheque was issued in your favor from the Nigeria Consolidated Oil Account with HSBC Bank in London cashiable within an hour over your bank counter upon presentations by you the beneficiary, due to the insincerity by some Government Officials i have henceforth send your Cashiers Cheque to our Apex Insurance Corporations(NICON INSURANCE) Managing Director Mr.Jimoh Ibrahim for onward shipment to you without delays as the check has been Stamped,Signed and Sealed for your immediate shipment to your address which you have to reconfirm to the Managing Director of Nicon Insurance,prior to the above you are requested to contact Jimoh Ibrahim with the below details for the immediate shipment of your Cashiers Check by him and him alone as the check has been insured by Nicon Insurance already at our own cost against theft or lost on transit
Barrister, Jimoh Ibrahim.
Managing Director Nicon Insurance Corporations of Nigeria,Nicon.
Call him on phone once you receive this letter and Forward to him your receiving home or office address where you want to him to courier your ready cashiers check to you in your country and send to him ONLY the sum of US$295 (Two Hundred And Ninety Five Dollars) which he will use to courier your parcel to you via our accredited courier company only hence we have arrangement with them to that effect and that is why they charge the above sum and after three days you will receive your cheque/Bank draft VAT Charges inclusive,already Nicon Insurance has insured your parcel as i instructed them including all the Clearance Documents that will cover your Cashiers Check,to avoid scam again the amount you will send to Jimoh Ibrahim is just the VAT and delivery fees which is the sum of US$295 ONLY hence i have given him a stern instructions to return every unclaimed cashiers check if you fail to send the courier fees to him for your shipment,call him on phone as soon as you receive this email and furnish him with your
Do update my office as soon as you have confirmed your cashiers cheque and if you have any questions feel free to contact me as well but be rest assured that your funds is now ready with the cheque i have already written out in your name to the tune of US$3.5Million ONLY.
Dr.Mrs.Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.
Federal Republic of Nigeria.