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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- ",000,000" (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)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Sir Joe Daniel <"www."@tune.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: Sir Joe Daniel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2017 09:46:03 +0900 (JST)
Subject: YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS NEEDED
This is to inform you that the United Nation Anti-Crime Commission and Great Britain (UK) in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) Foreign Credit Commission and Debts Settlement Services New York have ordered the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Fraud Victim Compensation Unit of Ministry of Finance, Benin Republic West Africa to release your compensation of $2.5.000.000 USD.
We wish to inform you that you are among the beneficiaries to benefit the Two Million Five hundred Thousand Dollars ($2.5.000.000 USD) each from the third batch of Three Hundred Million ($300,000,000.00 USD) Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Fraud Victim Compensation Unit.
NB: Be informed that we have three (3) payment methods as follows,
(1)>>Fund transfer via online banking system.
(2)>>Payment via Certified ATM Card.
(3)>>Funds transfer via Money Gram or Western Union,
choose and indicate how you wish your fund to be released to you, when contacting us with your details as requested,
To facilitate your fund transfer, you are to forward your personal details which will includes:
Your Full Name...............................................................
Your Valid Phone numbers.....................................................
Your Home address............................................................
Your Country And City........................................................
Your Copy of Passport Or Identity card if any ...............................
As soon as we hear from you, We shall arrange the fund release to you and you shall be notified on how the payment schedule can be conducted.
You are advise to move this Message to inbox when replying it because we have little problem in sending message,
Thanks for your conversation.
Sir Joe Daniel, Ministry Of Finance
Solicitors & Co, Chambers
Office of the Attorney General, Division of Scam Victim Services
For: (ECOWAS) Fraud Victim Compensation United Bank Of Africa Insurance
Plc, Benin Republic, West Africa.
Contact email: email@example.com
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