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 document" (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. )
- "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)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Himamauli Das <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2021 03:14:08 -0800
Subject: WHAT IS HOLDING YOU FROM RECEIVING YOUR FUNDS? LET US KNOW SO THAT WE
YOU HAVE A PENDING TRANSFER VALUE OF USD$6.5MILLION DOLLARS IN YOUR
NAME, AWAITING CLEARANCE FROM THE FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCEMENT
NETWORK(FINCEN), THE DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY HAS AUTHORIZED THE
FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCEMENT NETWORK(FINCEN) TO RELEASE YOUR FUNDS
INTO YOUR ACCOUNT. THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK REQUIRES COPY OF YOUR
LEGAL CLEARANCE DOCUMENT AND THE PATRIOT ACT CERTIFICATION DOCUMENT.
YOU SHOULD GET BACK TO US IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE DOCUMENTS SO THAT WE
WOULD ISSUE YOU THE LEGAL CLEARANCE DOCUMENT THROUGH THE LEGAL BUREAU
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY FOR FURTHER RELEASE OF YOUR FUNDS INTO
YOU ARE REQUIRED TO RECONFIRM THE ABOVE FEE AS OUR RECORDS STATE THAT
YOU HAVE A PENDING FUNDS VALUE OF USD$6.5MILLION DOLLARS AND WE WILL
AUTHORIZE THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK TO RELEASE YOUR FUNDS AS SOON AS WE
RECEIVE A RESPONSE FROM YOU, ALONG WITH YOUR FULL CONTACT INFORMATION
AND YOUR BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS TO ENABLE US CROSS CHECK WITH OUR
RECORDS TO ASCERTAIN THE AUTHENTICITY OF YOUR CLAIM NAME AS THE
RIGHTFUL OWNER/BENEFICIARY OF THE FUNDS.
YOU ARE ADVISE TO STRICTLY CONTACT ME DIRECTLY SO THAT I WILL MAKE
SURE THAT YOUR FUNDS IS RELEASED INTO YOUR ACCOUNT WITHOUT FURTHER
DELAY. LET US KNOW WHAT IS STILL HOLDING YOU FROM RECEIVING YOUR FUNDS
AND IF THERE IS ANYTHING WE WILL DO, THEN WE DO IT FAST NOW THAT THE
SENATE HAS CONFIRMED THE TREASURY SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES.
RECONFIRM YOUR FULL CONTACT DETAILS AND YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER FOR
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF YOUR FUNDS AS AUTHORIZATION HAS BEEN ISSUED ON
ACTING DIRECTOR OF OPERATION
THE FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCEMENT NETWORK(FINCEN)
1500 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW,
WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA