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. )
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms. Carman L.Lapointe" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2014 20:11:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Payment Notification Via ATM Visa Card (ATM 101)
From: Ms. Carman L. Lapointe
Head Of United Nations Under-Secretary-
General For Internal Oversight Services
To: Unpaid Beneficiary,
This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria 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 and the British Government for the high volume of fraudulent activities going that is on in these two nations.
For more information about me kindly click on the below link or copy and paste on your web browser.
Right now, as directed by UN secretary General named Ban Ki-Moon we are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Financial Crime Commission/agencies and we have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorized the Government of Nigeria to effect your overdue payment worth $1.7M only into your account without any delay as approved and instructed by CANADIAN government and UNITED NATIONS. But the only fee you will pay to receive your fund is the Notarization fee. Upon your request, I will tell you the amount and also send you the payment information you will use in sending the Notarization fee.
Sincerely, you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian and Canadian Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Mr. Richard Graves from USA to frustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account.
Note that I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message with your full name, full address,direct phone number 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. Upon your request, I will tell you the amount and also send you the payment information you will use in sending the Notarization fee.
You can reach me with below information:
Telephone:- +2348068051672 or 0092348068051672
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Carman L.Lapointe
Head Of United Nations Under-Secretary
General For Internal Oversight Services