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"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:

Fraud email example:

From: "FedEx Online Team" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 07:48:39 +0800

Spam detection software, running on the system "", has
identified this incoming email as possible spam. The original message
has been attached to this so you can view it (if it isn't spam) or label
similar future email. If you have any questions, see
The administrator of that system for details.

Content preview: CONFIRM OWNERSHIP(PARCEL) Dear Customer! We have been waiting
for you to contact us for your Confirmable Package that is registered with
us for shipping to your residential location. We had thought that your sender
gave you our contact details. It may interest you to note that a letter is
also added to your package. However, we cannot quote its content to you via
email for Privacy reasons we understand that the content of your package
itself is a Bank Draft worth of $800,000.00 USD. As you know, FedEx do not
ship money in CASH or in CHEQUES but Bank Drafts are shippable. [...]

Content analysis details: (5.4 points, 5.0 required)

pts rule name description
---- ---------------------- --------------------------------------------------
-1.4 ALL_TRUSTED Passed through trusted hosts only via SMTP
1.8 SUBJ_ALL_CAPS Subject is all capitals
1.6 MISSING_HEADERS Missing To: header
2.0 ADVANCE_FEE_2 Appears to be advance fee fraud (Nigerian 419)
1.4 ADVANCE_FEE_3 Appears to be advance fee fraud (Nigerian 419)

Anti-fraud resources: