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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "affidavit of claim" (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. )
- "million us 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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "my direct telephone number" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "REV. JERRY NICHOLS" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:09:58 -0800
Subject: INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)... VERY URGENT
IMF WORLD REGULATORY OFFICE
INTERNATIONAL FUNDS REGULATORY AUTHORITY
INTER-CONTINENTAL DEBT RECONCILIATION DEPT.
FROM THE DESK OF: HONORABLE REV. JERRY NICHOLS. DIRECTOR
ATTENTION:PROVISION OF AFFIDAVIT OF CLAIM CERTIFICATE FOR LEGAL COVER/ PROTECTION OF US$15.5M IN FAVOR
PLEASE LET US START BY APOLOGIZING TO YOUR HUMBLE AND NOBLE PERSON, THIS IS BECAUSE YOUR PAYMENT FILE WORTH THE TOTAL SUM OF $15.5 MILLION US DOLLARS HAVE JUST BEEN BROUGHT TO MY DESK FOR CANCELLATION WHICH I HAVE TO TAKE MY TIME TO LOOK INTO YOUR PAYMENT FILE TO KNOW WHY YOUR OVER DUE PAYMENT SHOULD BE CANCELED AND I FOUND OUT THAT IT WAS BECAUSE OF YOUR INABILITY TO SECURE YOUR ACCESS CODE THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE RESOLVED TO HAVE YOUR PAYMENT OF $15.5 MILLION US DOLLARS CANCELED.
NEVERTHELESS, DUE TO HUMANITARIAN GROUND AND SYMPATHY AND BECAUSE I DO NOT WANT YOUR PAYMENT CANCELED SO I IMMEDIATELY CALLED UP THE PRESIDENT (PRESIDENT GOOD-LUCK EBELE JONATHAN) TO EXPLAIN YOUR MATTER TO HIM AS REGARDS TO YOUR PAYMENT AND HE PERSONALLY CALLED UP A MEETING WHICH WAS RESOLVED THAT ALL PAYMENT AND ANY PAYMENT BE REDUCED TO IT'S BAREST MENIAL IN OTHER TO ENABLE YOU AFFORD TO PAY THE FEE SO THAT YOUR PAYMENT BE RELEASED TO YOU TODAY.
YOU HAVE BEEN MANDATED TO IMMEDIATELY COMPLETE YOUR LONG AWAITED FUND TRANSFER WITH THIS OFFICE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, SO YOU HAVE BEEN MANDATED TO COMPLY FOR THE FINAL VET OF YOUR PAYMENT. TO THIS END IT WILL INTEREST YOU TO KNOW THAT THE ONLY FEE REQUIRED OF YOU HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO YOUR FAVOR WHICH IS IN OTHER TO ENABLE YOU HAVE THE FEE PAID SO THAT YOUR ACCESS CODE WILL BE RELEASED TO YOU IMMEDIATELY IN OTHER TO ENABLE YOU HAVE SPEEDY ACCESS TO YOUR FUND ONCE IT IS RELEASED TO YOU.
PLEASE WE WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ONLY 24 HOURS TO GET BACK TO US IN OTHER TO COMPLETE EVERY NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS IN YOUR FAVOR TO RELEASE AND EFFECT YOUR FUND WORTH $15.5M US IN OUR CARE TO ANY BANK ACCOUNT OF YOUR CHOICE OR ISSUE YOU A CERTIFIED ATM VISA CARD, SO WE ADVICE YOU TO GET BACK TO US IMMEDIATE BY RECONFIRMING YOUR CONTACT DETAILS, SHOULD YOU WISH TO RECEIVE YOUR APPROVED FUNDS TODAY.
YOUR FULL NAME:
DIRECT TELEPHONE NUMBER:
YOUR PRIVATE E-MAIL ADDRESS:
WE WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT WE ARE INDEED VERY VERY SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCES ANY DELAY THIS MUST HAVE CAUSED YOU IN HAVING YOUR FUND PAID OUT TO YOU LONG BEFORE NOW.
YOUR URGENT RESPONSE TO THIS E-MAIL NOW WILL GO A LONG WAY IN HELPING US ENSURE YOUR PAYMENT IS BEEN RELEASED TO YOU WITHIN 24HOURS YOU ACT AS INSTRUCTED BY THIS OFFICE.
CONFIRM THE RECEIPT OF THIS E-MAIL TO YOU IMMEDIATELY AND BE REST ASSURED THAT YOU WILL BE SMILING TO YOUR BANK ONCE YOU COMPLY WITH THE ABOVE DIRECTIVES NOW, THIS IS A PROMISE TO YOU AFTER ALL YOUR PAINS IN THE PAST AS WE ARE HERE TO SERVE YOU AS OUR WORD IS OUR BOND TO YOU.
CALL ME IMMEDIATELY USING MY DIRECT TELEPHONE NUMBER: (+2348027127674)
RESPOND BACK IMMEDIATELY.
HONORABLE REV. JERRY NICHOLS.
DEBT RECONCILIATION DEPT.
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
CALL ME IMMEDIATELY USING: (0092348027127674 OR +2348027127674)