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:
- "required 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. )
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Marc A Hurtau" <"Marc."@able.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 05:06:27 +0900 (JST)
Subject: OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS
Customs and Border Protection
Clevland Service Port
6747 Engle Rd,
OHIO, OH 44130
Phone:: +1 (330) 356-7478
This is in response to your United Nation attorney written on 13th July, 2017, regarding her concerns about possible information partaining to your parcel in the Customs and Boarder Protection ( CBP ) records database, please allow me to address our findings.
With the information that was provided by your attorney, we conducted a search in IBIS database and have determine that there is a derogatory record of information relating to you on the file, and this file states that your OFFICIAL CHECK of $25, 000, 000.00 Million United States Dollars has been TEMPORARY WITHHELD on this office on 2nd June, 2017 for violation of shipping policy which states that any fund above $500, 000 United States Dollars which is being deliver within or outside the United States must carry International Monetary Fund Certificate.
IBIS is computerized list of names of known and suspected violators of CBP and other law enforcement agency laws. Our officers use IBIS, along with other enforcement criteria, as a tool in determining which parcel may warrant more than normal scrutiny when returning to or departing from the United States.
Though we have cleared your parcel from this office but while we cannot guarantee that your parcel will never be WITHHELD by other Law enforcement for protracted CBP Inspection, we recommend that you obtain the required International Monetary Fund Certificate and the legal service charge is $269 Dollars, this is for positive identification and clearance at any Check Point your parcel is screened and you should reasonably expect to receive your parcel within 3 working days once the required fee is sent this is par routine CBP processing and protocol.
You have 4 days to arrange for the required fee or confiscation of your parcel. If you are unable to accomplish any of the options, the parcel will be transferred to the US Treasury Department. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Customs and Boarder Officer at email@example.com, for more details.
Here is the required fee summary for clarifications;
Clearance .............................. $93.00 Dollars
Administrative ........................ $176 Dollars
The total of $269 Dollars has been charged for the obtain a International Monetary Fund Certificate and in acknowledgement of this mail I shall provide you with the required information with which you will use to send the fee to our accountant here.
I appreciate your interest in Customs and Boarder Protection Policy and Protocol.
Mr. Marc A Hurtau,
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
U.S Customs and Border Protection
Clevland Service Port