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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "first national bank" (not involved with lotteries)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "foreign payment department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- owen* position: fund processing manager email: firstname.lastname@example.org alternative: email@example.com tel: +27 83 566 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Juliet Ferguson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2023 09:17:21 +0200
Subject: Message About Your Unclaimed Fund
From: UN Fund Recovery Unit
Payment Ref: *UN/IMF/20FR23*
Dear Fund Beneficiary,
This letter is from the United Nations Fund Recovery Unit, newly appointed
by the United Nation secretary general, and the governing body of the
International Monetary Fund. This body was set up to Investigate/Recover
unpaid funds being owed to Governments/Individuals all over the world
through Contract Payment/Inheritance and Lottery Payment etc.
During our investigation, we discovered that your payment has been
unnecessarily delayed by some corrupt officials trying to divert your funds
into their private accounts for their personal use. We have discovered an
outstanding unclaimed sum of *US$5,000,000.00* *(Five Million United States
Dollars)* in your name, which was to be paid to you as the beneficiary.
Upon recovery of this fund, Payment Approval Order has been issued to First
National Bank of South Africa to commence immediate payment of your fund
via electronic wire transfer into your bank account. To facilitate the
release of the fund into your bank account, kindly contact *Mr. George Owen*
fund processing manager assigned to handle the release of the fund to you
on the below information:
*Foreign Payment Department*
Johannesburg, South Africa
Contact Person: *Mr. George Owen*
Position: Fund Processing Manager
Tel: +27 83 566 3330
*PLEASE NOTE*: Your correspondence to *Mr. George Owen* has the payment
reference number: Ref: *UN/IMF/20FR23* sent along with your *Full
Occupation, Age* *,Tel/Mobile Numbers, Bank Account Details *and*
International Passport* *Copy* or *Driverâs License *for prompt attention.
Recovery Administrator, UN