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:
- "fund beneficiary" (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: "Ms. Renee Hill" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2019 07:29:49 -0700
Subject: Re: Urgent payment regards to your funds
International Monetary Fund Office Canada
202 Elgin St Ottawa, ON, Canada
Dear Fund Beneficiary,
This is to intimate you of a very important information which will be of
a great help to redeem you from all the difficulties you have been
experiencing in getting your long over due payment, due to excessive
demand for money from you by both corrupt Bank officials and Courier
Companies after which your fund remain unpaid to you. You really have to
stop dealing with those people that are contacting you and telling you
that your fund is with them, it is not in anyway with them, they are
only taking advantage of you and they will dry you up until you have
I am Ms. Renee Hill a highly placed official of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF). It may interest you to know that reports have
reached our office by so many correspondence on the uneasy way which
people like you are treated by Various Banks and Courier Companies
accross Europe to Africa and Asia and we have decided to put a stop to
that and that is why i was appointed to handle your transaction here in
All Governmental and Non-Governmental parastatals, NGOs, Finance
Companies, Banks, Security Companies and Courier companies which have
been in contact with you of late have been instructed to back up from
your transaction and you have been advised NOT to respond to them
anymore since the IMF is now directly in charge of your payment. You are
hereby advised NOT to remit further payment to any institutions with
respect to your transaction as your fund will be transferred to you
directly from our source. I hope this is clear. Any action contrary to
this instructions is at your own risk. Respond to this e-mail
(email@example.com) on with immediate effect and we shall give
you further details on how your fund will be released.
Ms. Renee Hill
IMF Regional Representative Office.