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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "lagos" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: METROPOLITAN POLICE HEADQUARTERS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2016 20:38:05 -0700
Subject: SECOND BATCH PAYMENT SCHEDULE...
METROPOLITAN POLICE HEADQUARTERS
8-10 Broadway, London SW1H 0BG,
SECOND BATCH PAYMENT SCHEDULE
We are pleased to inform you that the Second Batch Payment Schedule
Approval Committee recently inaugurated by the International Banks for
reconciliation and development (World Bank) and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) based on series of petitions received from
International bodies such as cooperate bodies and Non Governmental
Organization (NGO) on the inability of most Government of different
Countries in the world, Commercial Banks, Probate Offices and World
Lottery Organization to settle their Clients Contract Debt, Inheritance
and Winning Prize Fund.
After an extensive close door meeting between the boards of directors,
it was resolved and agreed upon, that this body; the Second Batch
Payment Schedule Approval Committee, comprised of selected intelligence
officers from the Metropolitan Police, EFCC and FBI will work
extensively to ensure that your Unclaimed Funds will be paid to you
without any hitch and delay through the World Bank and IMF Insurance
Body as agreed.
The total sum of $3,985,000.00 (Three Million Nine Hundred and
Eighty-Five Thousand US Dollars) as initial payment has been endorsed
and approved for payment to you. Being the second batch of payment
issued to various individuals, Companies, and Organizations, we will
delight in following the procedures in the course of payment for our
first batch receivers. To safe-guard enlisted/qualified
Clients/Beneficiaries from further extortion of unnecessary payments of
any kind whatsoever, we have appointed, accredited and endorsed an
attorney to work under our care in this regards, he is a well known
activist, a human rights lawyer and knowledgeable in various fields.
Be informed that your payment will come in either of the forms below:
CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT
This payment order will be in a Certified Bank Draft in that amount and
can be repurchased from any bank in the world. This means is advised for
those who can handle and manage such huge sums of money.
ATM VISA/MASTER CARD
This payment order will be in an ATM Visa or Master Card in that amount
programmed to dispense a maximum of $5000.00USD for each use and can be
used for a maximum of 4 times in a day after each 6 hours hence it can
dispense a total of $24,000.00USD in a day.
Instructions have been given to the endorsed paying bank in Nigeria to
issue either a Certified Bank Draft or an ATM Visa/Master Card in that
amount in your favor upon your receipt of your option.
The reason why we have used Nigeria as the claims center is because of
the reduced tendency and involvement of the Nigerian Government in the
sponsorship of terrorism related activities and the stability of the
Country despite the fact that there are some bad eggs which are also
seen in other countries in the World.
We advice that you establish contact with our attorney, a human rights
lawyer who will render free legal services to all beneficiaries who have
been listed on our second batch payment schedule. In other words, the
body will take care of his flight fees, service charges and other
contingencies throughout his one month stay in Nigeria until we confirm
that you have received and confirmed your payments, Hence he requires no
fee or charges from you the beneficiary to ensure that you are on the
right track to receive your funds without being misled apart from the
official delivery charges which is to be paid to the delivery company
for the delivery of your parcel. He is very much conversant with the
delivery and all international law and will perfectly guide you through
under our supervision.
DHL DELIVERY RATE
By Speed Post - $350.00USD
Estimated Time of Arrival (ETI) = Maximum of 1DAY after shipment
Universal Courier Delivery - $250.00USD
Estimated Time of Arrival (ETI) = 2 days.
The only fee you will have to pay is either $350.00USD (For Speed Post)
or $250.00USD (For Universal Courier Express Delivery).
You are to reconfirm to the courier service Mr David James the
following details of yours as listed below:
Choose from the two option listed above and make the Payment through
western union money transfer to STANLEY IWU
RECEIVER NAME : STANLEY IWU
ADDRESS : LAGOS NIGERIA
TEXT QUESTION : WHAT COLOR
ANSWER : RED
AMOUNT : $350 OR $250
SEND MTCN NUMBER : ........................
RECONFIRM THE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Current/Valid Residential Address:
Nominated Delivery Address:
Home Cell Number:
Direct Mobile Number:
Scan Copy of your Identification (OPTIONAL)
You are also to indicate the means of delivery you want between the two
listed above and the amount you sent.
Also note that either $350USD or $250.00USD is what it will cost to get
your parcel to your nominated delivery address and that is the only fee
you will ever have to pay.
You can email the courier service at:
Name: Mr David James
Make sure that you call him immediately on the number above to notify
him that you got the email and have responded to the email to enable him
check his email and pickup the payment you sent and give you tracking
number of your package.
Mr Peter Obi
Warning: This is only meant for beneficiaries whose names are listed as
second batch receivers in this payment schedule, we will not entertain
another person coming forward for claim of the fund meant for another in
this payment schedule unless there is a valid power of attorney
presented, You are also advised not to reply to this email if you have
received your funds in the past as this email is specifically meant for
those who have not yet gotten their prize funds within the past 5-7
years. You will be prosecuted and made to face the wrath of law if it is
discovered that you have submitted any false information in this course.
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This email (including all attachments) is intended solely for the named addressee. It is confidential and may contain privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this communication. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately and delete the original message. This email is also subject to copyright. No part of it may be reproduced, adapted or transmitted without the consent of the copyright owner.