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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "million united states 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)
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Pic William" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr. Pic William" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 08:36:11 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: IMF representative
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
HEAD OFFICE,NO: 23 ADEBOYE ST, APAPA LAGOS.
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
Firstly we introduce this commission, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF),
we fight cuber crime, Internet fraud, scam and money laundering in Africa
and London United Kingdom Our commission has been in existences since 2002
and our duty is to stop internet fraud. We have over 7,500 of them in our
jails around Africa and we are still looking for these internet fraudsters
and we are aware that a lot of foreigners have been deceived and huge
amount of money has also been lost to this fraudsters after promising you
percentages in their letters for you to help them move funds and they will
end up demanding for money from you and in return you will get nothing.
The Leaders of the Africa Crime fighters, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
(IMF) has come together to inform the world what is going on now and we
have recovered over $422 Million Dollars (Four Hundred and Twenty two
Million Dollars) from the people we have apprehended. The reason we are
writing you this letter is because your name was given to us by one of the
fraudsters in our detention room after serious investigation and our aim
is to refund all lost fund to its legitimate owner.
The Government has approved a total of Twenty five Thousand United states
Dollars (US$25,000.00) only as the compensation of the lost that you
incurred as this was a ceiling rate as some suffered more while others
suffered less to and the idea is to restore you back to the position that
you would have been if not that you are defrauded.
In addition to the compensation amount also approved in your favor is also
Ten Million United States Dollars (US$10,000,000.00) only making it a
total of Ten Million, Twenty five thousand United States Dollars that will
be paid to you in the next few days.
Kindly send the under listed information .
Your Mailing address (Not P.o Box Please)
Your Direct Mobile Line
Mr. Pic William.