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:
- 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:
- "30% for you " (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "offshore account" (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 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Jerry Ntai (Mevas Bank)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2010 04:53:00 +0100 (CET)
Subject: PLEASE READ AND GET BACK FOR DETAILS
Mr. Jerry Ntai.
My name is Mr. Jerry Ntai , I am the credit officer
in Hang Seng Bank, Hong Kong. I have a business
proposal in the tune of $25.2mUS to be transferred
to an offshore account with your assistance.
After the successful transfer, we shall share in
ratio of 30% for you and 70% for me. Should you be
interested, please respond to my letter immediately,
so we can commence all arrangements and I will give
you more information on the project and how we would
handle it. Please treat this business with utmost
You can contact me on my private email:
(email@example.com)and send me the
following information for documentation purpose:
(2)private phone number:
(3)current residential address:
(5)Age and Sex:
Please note that wrong information will not let me know
you better for this transaction.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mr. Jerry Ntai.