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. )
- "economic and financial crime 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. )
- "abuja" (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: Thomas Lambert <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 14:18:29 +0100
Subject: this is my Third email to you.
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES Internal Audit,Monitoring,Consulting And Investigations Division,UNITED NATIONS BUILDING ABUJA-NIGERIA, FCT.
From: Mr. Thomas Lambert.
Are You Still Alive? This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria from Our Office In UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe, Oceania,Arab Countries, Antarctica,South Africa and the United States of America respectively, against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for he rate of scam activities going on in these two nations.
I have met with the President of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who claimed that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund in your account. Right now,as directed by our secretary general Mr.Ban Ki-Moon,We are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorize the Government of Nigeria and the CENTRAL BANK (CBN)to release your payment to you approved by both the Nigerian government and the UNITED NATIONS into your account without any delay.The only fee you will pay to confirm your fund in your account,is your Notarization fee to the UNITED NATIONS.
Sincerely,you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian and British 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,We are very sorry for what you have gone through for many years now and we are ready to help you get your funds.
I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message so that I can advise you on how best to confirm your fund in your account within the next 72 hours
Waiting to hear from you as this is my Third email to you.
Mr. Thomas Lambert
UNITED NATIONS BUILDING,