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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "western union" (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. )
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "economic and financial crimes commission" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "(efcc)" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Ho Choi" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 10:22:26 +0000
Subject: From Mr. Ho Choi
I am Mr. Ho Choi with the Financial Intelligence Unit of ECONOMIC
& FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC). The ECONOMIC & FINANCIAL
CRIME COMMISSION in alliance with Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS) have been working towards the eradication of fraudsters
and Con Artists in Western part of Africa With the help of the INTERPOL
and the United Nation.
We have been able to track down so many
of this Con artist in various parts of west African countries which
includes (NIGERIA, REPUBLIC OF BENIN, TOGO, GHANA CAMEROON AND SENEGAL
and some ran away and still be communicating to their victim ) and they
are all in our custody here in Lagos Nigeria. After proper
investigations, we were able to recover some cash at hand and bank which
were supposed to be remitted to you but weren't due to greed. These
funds are now being retrieved and will be delivered to intended
recipient. We also found a computer hard drive containing your email
contact and that of other victims. We at the zenith of affairs of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the United Nations
Representatives in Nigeria have agreed that the total sum of USD68.4M
(Sixty Eight Million, Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only)
be shared among the 342 email contacts found on the fraudsters hard
This email is being directed to you because your email
address was found in one of the Con Artist's Scrap file in the computer
hard drive in our custody here in Nigeria. You are therefore being
compensated with the total sum $100,000 (one hundred Thousand United
We have made arrangement to provide secure
Money transfer through Internationally renowned Money Transfer Merchant
(Western Union Money Transfer) here in Lagos Nigeria to avoid
misappropriation. Our workforce have been instructed to fully oversee
the transfer process for security reasons.
Feel free to Contact
me with your information been the Head of Operations to enable him
commence the processing of your payment to avoid any delay in
processing. and stop further contact to any one. ignore those people
contacting you as FBI the are fake only to further swindle your money
Mr. Ho Choi