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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Nana Adams <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Nana Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:18:08 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: To: Unpaid Beneficiary,
Â To: Unpaid Beneficiary,
This is to inform you that I came to Ghana yesterday from Canada, after series of complaint from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia,Europe, South America and the United States of America respectively, against the Federal Government of Nigeria, Cotonou Benin Republic, Ghana and the British Government for the high volume of scam/fraudulent activities going on in these nations.
Right now, as directed by UN secretary General named Ban Ki-Moon we are working in collaborations with the Ghana Financial Crime Commission/agencies and we have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorized the Government of Ghana to effect your overdue payment worth $10.5 Million only into your account without any delay as approved, your funds transfer as instructed by CANADIAN government and UNITED NATIONS. But the only fee you will pay to receive your fund is the Notarization fee of $185 Upon your request, I will send you the payment information you will use in sending the Notarization fee $185 only.
Honestly, you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Ghana and Canadian Government Officials are interested in your funds and they are working in collaboration with One Mr. Richard Graves from USA to divert your fund into his personal account so they could share thereafter.
Note that I have a very limited time to stay in Â Ghana here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message with
Your Full name:Â Home address:Direct phone number:Your Banking Details
So that I can advise you on how best to confirm your fund in your account within the next 72 hours. Once again, the only fee you will pay to receive your fund is the Notarization fee $185 Upon your request, I will send you the payment information you will use in sending the Notarization fee.
You can reach me with below information:Name: Mr Nana AdamsEmail Address: Â email@example.com
Sincerely yours,Mr Nana AdamsHead Of United Nations Under-Secretary