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. )
- "stamp duty" (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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "CARMAN LAPOINTE" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:02:17 +0100
Subject: URGENT RESPONSE NEEDED
INTERNATIONAL FUNDS TRANSFER/AUDIT UNIT.
UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL OFFICE FOR OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS
MONITORING AND INVESTIGATIONS UNIT.
From: MRS CARMAN LAPOINTE
This is to inform you that I was sent on a special assignment by the United Nations secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, after series of complaint from the FBI and other Security agencies from the United States of America, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia respectively against some African countries inter alia, the Government of Nigeria and even the British Government for certain scam and other sharp financial practices happening in these two nations.
Right now, as directed by the secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon. We are working in collaboration with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to ensure that all your clearance fees/Charges is WAIVED AWAY and authorize the Government of Nigeria to effect your overdue payment worth USD $15.5 Million into your account without any delay as approved, mandated and instructed by UNITED NATIONS. The only fee you will pay to receive your overdue payment is your STAMP DUTY fee of USD$200 only.
Sincerely and truthfully, you are lucky because the United Nations team discovered that some top Nigerian and British Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Mrs. Maija Bukal from Zagreb Croatia to frustrate you so you can give up and abandon your funds and thereafter, they will divert your fund into her personal bank account in Croatia. Once your money is transferred to this womans account, the funds will be shared by the woman and these wicked and corrupt officers who masterminded the funds diversion.
I have a very short time to stay here in Africa because the assignment given to me by the United Nations is to ensure your fund release takes immediate effect. so I would like you to urgently respond and comply to this message so that you will receive your long awaiting payment.
I will send you the payment information upon your response.
MRS CARMAN LAPOINTE
Under-Sec For Oversight Functions.