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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "affidavit of claim" (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. )
- "inheritance tax" (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. )
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "economic and financial crimes commission" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "affidavit " (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Stephen" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2018 23:49:54 +0100
Subject: Hello Fund Beneficiary
hope you are doing good? I know you will be surprise that I get to know about this.
I am Mr Stephen Edochie, I work with the Debt Reconciliation under Federal Ministry of Finance and my wife works with the International Economic and Financial Crimes Commission contract monitoring unit. I have to open up a deal with you, which only My wife and I knows, but you have to promise us that you will keep this secret to yourself and corporate with us, then immediately you receive the money you will give us 20percent of the money and if you want to compensate anybody for introducing you to this then It's your own free will, the truth of today No Time, you have to be wiser as you have been used to prefect a clean job for moving a fund out of my office and you did not know the truth as we can see your innocent of the hole act.
I have all your original legal documents with me that have your name and your information's but the problem is that they don't really want you to receive this money as a new account was presented today. Only to use you to achieve getting there shares and that is more reason my wife called on my attention to help you and to back you up with the real and more legal way to get your fund pay. Please i am not going to communicate with you through Email, reason you will know when i talk to you true the phone. Send your telephone number to me for me to let you know the truth of the hole deal you are into, but you can still be talking to them and never pay any money to anybody for any fees.
As they will be using it to distract your attention for knowing the truth, it will take us 48hrs to release the funds to you, only if you can sincerely corporate with my wife in this matter, she will send the two important documents you need to present to your bank if ask for and within 48hrs your payment will be release to your bank account as an contract inheritance beneficiary not as an over invoice contract on money laundering in financial crime, i will send the two documents you need which is your non resident affidavit of claims and Ecowas contract inheritance tax payment receipt in your name with a backup letter from my office and my wife office as we have seen that you are clean and have a very good intention,
please keep this to yourself and work with us just for two days and you will see the money pay to you with no further delay as i have put the new account unhold.
Your urgent reply is needed with your telephone number for me to call you for more advice.
God bless you,
Thanks and goodluk.
Mr Stephen Edochie