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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "million 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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.
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- position: fund processing manager office email: firstname.lastname@example.org private email: email@example.com direct (Workmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Barbara Morrison" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2021 09:29:34 +0200
Subject: Approved Payment Of Us$5,500,000.00 Dollars In Your Name
Dear Fund Beneficiary,
APPROVED PAYMENT OF US$5,500,000.00 DOLLARS:
This letter is from the United Nations Fund Recovery Unit, newly
appointed by United Nation secretary general, and the governing body
of INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND. This body was set up to
Investigate/Recover unpaid funds being owed to Governments/Individuals
all over the world through Contract Payments/Inheritance and Lottery
During our investigation, we discovered that your payment has been
unnecessarily delayed by some corrupt Agents that corroborated with
bank Officials trying to divert your funds into their private accounts
for their personal use. We have discovered an outstanding unclaimed
sum of US$5.5 Million Dollars in your name, which was to be paid to
you through Bank-To-Bank transfer.
Upon recovery of this fund, Payment APPROVAL ORDER has been issued by
the World Bank Group to have this fund transferred to you within the
next 5 working days. For immediate release of the fund to you, kindly
contact our payment Department on the below information together with
your full details:
Payment Department South Africa
Contact Person: Mr. William Jackson
Position: Fund Processing Manager
Office Email: email@example.com
Private Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Direct Tel: +27 78-373-0314
Contact the above payment department as quickly as possible confirming
the fund with them and also requesting from them the procedures
required to receive your fund. As a security measure, Please ensure to
quote this Payment Reference Number âUN-IMF/104/2021â on the message
subject in your correspondence with the above office so that they can
locate your file easily and commence the transfer process of your
Mrs. Barbara Morrison
United Nations Fund Recovery Unit
Johannesburg, South Africa.