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:
- 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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million us 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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2018 09:50:47 -0800
Subject: PAYMENT COMPENSATION FROM THE UNITED NATIONS,GET BACK AND CALL ME NOW.
This is to inform you that we have been working towards the
eradication of fraudsters and scam Artists in Africa with the help of
the Organization of African Unity (OAU) United Nations (UN), European
Union (EU) and FBI.
We have been able to track down some scam artist in various parts of
African countries which includes (Nigeria, Republic of Benin,Ghana and
Senegal) and they are all in Government custody now, they will appear
at International Criminal Court (ICC) soon for Justice.
During the course of investigation, they were able to recovered some
funds from these scam artists and IMF organization have ordered the
funds recovered to be shared among the 50 Lucky people listed around
the World as a compensation.
This notice is been directed to you because your email address was
found in one of the scam Artists file and computer hard-disk while the
investigation, maybe you have been scammed. You are therefore being
compensated with sum of $2.5 Million US Dollars.
Since your email address is among the lucky beneficiaries who will
receive this compensation, we have arranged your payment to be paid to
you through MASTER CARD to enable you withdraw maximum of $2,500 in
equivalent on each withdrawal per daily from any Bank ATM Machine of
your choice,until all the funds are exhausted.
The ATM Card with Security Pin Numbers shall be delivered to you using
a reliable courier company and shipping tracking particulars will be
forwarded to you upon reconfirmation of your below particulars OK?
1. Your Full Name:
2. Current home address:
3. Direct phone Number's:
4. A Copy of Your Passport or Driver's license for Identification at
point of collection.
Also be advised to stop all further communications with whosoever
regarding your payment as we have short-listed you through your email
account for payment upon receipt of above requirements.
Thanks for your understanding as you follow this instruction while
waiting to receive email confirmation from you.
Yours in Services,