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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: John Simmons <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: John Simmons <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 21:58:03 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Attn Sir/Madam
Â BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION
Metro Plaza, Plot 991/992
Zakari Maimalari Street
Cadastral Zone AO,
Central Business District, Abuja.
The BRITISH High Commission in Nigeria, Benin Republic, Ghana and Burkina Faso received a report of scam against you and other British/US and Malaysian citizens, Etc. The countries of Nigeria, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso and Ghana have recompensed you following the meeting held with the four countries' Government and various countries' high commission for the fraudulent activities carried out by the four countries' Citizens.
Your email was among those scammed as listed by the Nigeria Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU). Compensation has been issued out in Certified Bank Drafts to all the affected victims and has been already been in distribution to all the bearers. Your draft was among those that were reported undelivered as at on Friday and we wish to advise you to see to the instructions of the Committee to make sure you receive your draft immediately.
According to the number of applicants at hand, 184 Beneficiaries has been paid, half of the victims are from the United States, and we still have more 37 left to be paid the compensations of $2,500,000.00 USD each.
Your particulars was mentioned by one of the Syndicates who was arrested as one of their victims of the operations, you are hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this message to him for any reason whatsoever as the U.S. secret service is already on trace of the other criminals.
So keep it secret till they are all apprehended. Other victims who have not been contacted can submit their application as well for scrutiny and possible consideration.
NFIU further told us that the use of Nigeria and Ghana Couriers was abolished due to interception activities noticed in the above mentioned courier services in Benin, Nigeria and Ghana and thereby have made a concrete arrangement with the Courier Company for a safe delivery to your door-step once the beneficiary meets up the demand of the conveyance.
We advise that you do the needful to make sure the NFIU dispatches your Draft on Friday.
You are assured of the safety of your draft and availability. Be advised that you should stop further contacts with all the fake lawyers and security companies who in collaboration scammed you. Get back to me immediately with your correct full details (Full Name, Contact Address And Reachable Telephone Number) to check if the delivery date suits you.
Yours in Service,
Mr John Simmons