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:
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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)
Fraud email example:
From: Mary Beth Leonard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2021 12:33:19 +0100
Subject: GOOD NEWS
UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA
PLOT 1075 DIPLOMATIC DRIVE
CENTRAL DISTRICT AREA, ABUJA
Dear: Lucky Beneficiary,
After an official meeting held with the President of Nigeria President
MUHAAMEDU BUHAR and the Minister of Finance ZAINAB SHAMSUNA AHMED
concerning unpaid and Unclaimed funds to foreign Beneficiaries, I was
very much annoyed when I found out from the payment records that your
fund is yet to be received after so much money you have paid. For that
reason I have decided to help your personally get your fund.
I am Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, the present U.S Ambassador to
Nigeria I shall be coming to your country by next week for an official
meeting and I will be bringing your fund of US$15.5 million (Fifteen
Million Five Hundred United State Dollars Only) which the Ministry of
Finance and the President has already sign and approved on your Name.
I shall be coming along with your fund (Cheque) through the United
States diplomatic Mission to your country. This time I will not go
through customs because as U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, I am a U.S
Government agent and I have the veto power to go through Customs.
NOTE, I have helped Three Beneficiaries from United State of America
and Greece this year to get their funds released to them without any
problem and you are the next person I am helping now. The Three
Beneficiaries who has already receive their fund through my assistance
this year are bellow
Mrs. Antonio Smith---------- Maryland USA
Mr. Keld Helmuth ------------Florida USA
Mr. Vasileios Patilas -------- Thessaloniki Greece
The above mentioned are the three persons who has received their funds
by my assistance this year and I am also giving you 100% assurance
that you are going to receive yours too once you are ready to follow
my instruction and also meet up with the requirement. Base on that you
are to send me your bellow information for the delivery of your fund
by next week as soon as I come for the meeting. Your details required
1. Your full Name;
2. Cell phone Number;
3. Address where you want me to bring the Cheque.
4. Scan copy of your ID card for verification
I know quite well from your record file that you have really paid so
much on this delivery that makes me wonder you are a very lucky person
because this time I shall be bringing it myself and there is nothing
anyone can do about it. Your parcel ($15.5 million USD) must be
registered as an Ambassadorial Parcel which will help me defeat all
odds. The cost of registering the Parcel is $450 with insurance and
custom Stamp as paid by order beneficiaries who just receive their
fund of recent. The fee must be paid in the next 168 hours via Western
Union or Money Gram so that all necessary arrangement can be made
before I will be coming for the meeting. You are to contact my
secretary with the information bellow for the registration of the
Contact Name: Mr. Paul rochers
Contact Email: email@example.com
Contact Phone No: +234-802-391-2337
Please contact my secretary with his information stated above for the
payment of the $450 for the registration of the Cheque before next
week which I will be coming to your country. Meanwhile as soon as I
arrive to your country, I will call you so that immediately I finished
with my meeting I will be coming to your address to take you to your
Bank to deposit the Cheque with all the approved document of the Fund
before I leave. You can go through my website and read biography:
AMBASSADOR MARY BETH LEONARD,
UNITED SATES AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA.
+1 (914) 575-2447 whatsApp only