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:
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cheque " (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. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (Financier; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "INTERNATIONAL MONITORING FUNDS IMF" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2018 21:08:27 +0100
Subject: RE: IMF PAYMENT ORDER
OFFICIAL LETTER FROM INTERNATIONAL MONITORING FUNDS IMF
Deputy Division Chief Laurie Husak,
Financial And Administrative Systems At International Monetary Fund.
IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER BY BANK CHEQUE
We have been authorized by the United Nation, to investigate the unnecessary delay on the payment
approved in your favour. In the course of our investigation, we discovered with dismay that your payment
has been unnecessarily Delayed by corrupt officials of the Bank who were Trying to divert your funds into
their private accounts. To forestall this and secure your funds A bank cheque raised for your payment.
This will enable you only to have direct Control over your funds.
We will monitor this payment ourselves to avoid further delay in the remittance of your entitlement. Note that
an irrevocable payment guarantee has been issued by the World Bank Group and the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) on your Payment. However, we must inform you that based on our recommendation/Instructions;
your funds have been credited in your favour through a bank cheque.
You are therefore advice to contact the International Remittance Director:
Dr. Joe Mariano Perez (Director)
Bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria,
Contact him immediately and ask him to advise you on how to receive your bank cheque. As soon as you
establish a contact with him, a cheque will be issued to you which you can use to cash your funds in any
Bank in your Country.
When contacting him, reach him with your data as stated below:
1. Your Full Name:
2. Address: (Where You Want the Courier Company to Send Your cheque)
3. Your Age:
4. Telephone Numbers:
NOTE: You are advised to furnish Dr. Joe Mariano Perez with your correct and valid details.
Director Economic Commission for world Information,
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Mr. Frank Bill (Coordinator)
International Debt Settlement Unit.