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:
- "tax clearance" (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. )
- "bank charges " (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. )
- "tax clearance" (Tax offices mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. Even after you pay their fake tax demands you will still not receive the non-existent funds you have been promised. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: INTERNAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2019 17:56:35 +0900
Subject: Attention Beneficiary
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
Internal Audit,Monitoring,Consulting And Investigations Division
My name is Ms. Heidi Mendoza, from the United Nations. It is a distinct pleasure to write you again. Your file is one of the approved legitimate beneficiaries to receive part-payment of your fund.
Right now, as directed by our secretary general Mr. Antonio Guterres, We have agreed and concluded that your US$750,000.00 be paid to you in 2 steps which will be disclosed to you in our next mail.
This is to enable you have enough funds to pay for the Tax Clearance and bank charges before you will receive the balance of your outstanding payment.
It was agreed at the meeting of heads of international financial institutions held in Geneva Switzerland; the key topics up for discussion by the World Bank Group included the
implementation of the World Bank's strategy within the framework of the 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
However in view of the Global Economic Recovery, in the IMF Steering Committee, Federal Councilor Ueli Maurer among other things welcomed the proposed structural reforms, which includes the swift release of beneficiaries funds because in so doing once these funds are back in circulation the financial growth that we sought for will be achieved sooner than later.
Therefore, some transactions that require our urgent attention were listed out. This report which concerns 2 categories of transactions shows that the first category are transactions that the beneficiary was issued a VISA ATM Card and for some unconventional reasons the transaction was not concluded and beneficiary goals were not accomplished after series of the process you went through.
And the second category that involves those who are among those randomly chosen through an electronic random pick to benefit from this program. You are among the individuals who fall under these 2 categories. We therefore, decided that your funds will be released to you through an Auto Loaded
Based on the above subject matter, I would like you to urgently respond to this message with your full name, address and telephone number for reconfirmation within the next 24 hours and release your fund.
Ms. Heidi Mendoza
SECRETARY UNITED NATIONS
OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
The information transmitted is intended solely for the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of or taking action in reliance upon this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from any computer.