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:
- "clearance fee" (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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: ",FEDERAL RESERVE BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2020 10:32:41 +0100
Subject: .,DEAR BENEFICIARY!!CONGRATULATIONS IN ADVANCE==-- 210.1
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
-"What is going on?We have notified you many times that your said funds of $22.5m are already loaded in an ATM Visa card with a daily withdrawal limit of $20,000.
We told you that the ATM Card will be delivered to your destination once you reconfirm your delivery details and send the delivery/clearance fee but till this moment no update or payment has been received from you.
Your delay is really affecting the delivery and transaction and it's important you act fast and send the delivery fee so that the ATM Card loaded with $22.5m can be delivered to your destination and to avoid deactivation of the said ATM Card.
In order to avoid delay for your ATM Card to be delivered on time,kindly reconfirm your delivery details,telephone number and send the delivery fee.
Congratulations in advance!!
Awaiting your response.
Senior Personal Assistance
Chairman Board of Governors,
Federal Reserve Bank