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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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. )
- "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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Int'l Oversight Services <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Int'l Oversight Services <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 09:35:11 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Good News....
Â INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
Internal Audit, Monitoring & Investigation Dept.
10, Wuse-Road, Abuja Nigeria.
From: Dr. Phillip Ervin Walter.
Re: Approved Payment Valued US$13.3M in Your Favor.
This is to inform you that we came to Nigeria from United States, after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia,Europe, Oceania, South America and the Department of States, respectively,against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the rate of scam activities going on in these two nations. We are sincerely sorry for your past experience in the hands of scam artist and we assured you that your fund will be paid legitimately.
We have met with President Dr Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria who claimed that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund in your Bank account. Right now, as directed by our secretary general Mr.Ban Ki-Moon, We are working in collaborations with the FBI detectives attached with the Nigerian Police Force here and has authorize the Government of Nigeria to effect the approved fund of US$13, 3000, 000, 00 to you as directed by the Department of States and the UN in your favor without any further delay.WeÂ have agreed to waive all your clearance fees/Charges and effect payment of your fund $13.3M into your account instantly as directed. The only fee you will pay to confirm the fund in your account is your NOTARIZATION CLEARANCE FEE. The Notarization Clearance fee is compulsory and and not negotiable so, pay it urgently and notify us to effect the transfer instantly as programmed but you will pay it in United States and not in Nigeria upon your receipt of this later.
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 Oklahoma, USA to frustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account.
NOTE: You are warned to STOP every communication you have with anyone as regards to your approved fund because all these while, they have not been able to help you to receive your fund so for your best interest, STOP every communication you have with whoever that has been dealing with you and give us your honest concentration to enable transfer your fund to you before Christmas. We need your maximum co-operation to effect your payment within 72 banking hours.
You can as well reconfirm to us the following information
(1) Your Valid Direct Tel/ Mobile No#:
(2) Your Full Name:
(3) Current Residential Address.
(4) Your Private E-mail Address.
(5) Your Occupation:
(6) Your Age and Sex:
(7) Your Nationality:
(8) Driving license or your passport copy or your working id card:
(9) Your Bank Details, where you want the fund to be wired:
I/we have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria so I would like you to
urgently respond to this message so that I can advise you on how best to
receive your fund within the next 72 hours.
Dr. Phillip Ervin Walter.
United Nations Under-Secretary-
General for Internal Oversight