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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447024053733 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Maria Johnson" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2010 10:04:12 -0000 (GMT)
Subject: PLEASE READ, GOD BLESS YOU
My name is Mrs. Maria Johnson.I am a dying woman who had decided to donate
what I have to you. I am 59 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about
2years ago,immediately after the death of my husband, who had left me
everything he worked for.I have been touched by God to donate from what I
have inherited from my late husband to the you for the good work of
God,rather than allow my relatives to use my husband's hard earned funds
ungodly.I will be going in for an operation,and i pray that i survive the
operation. I have decided to WILL/donate the sum of $10,500,000(Ten
million five hundred thousand dollars) to you for the good work of the
lord,and to help the motherless,less privileged and also for the
assistance of the widows.
Presently,I have informed my lawyer about my decision in WILLING this fund
to you.I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you
abundantly,and please use the funds well and always extend the good work
to others.Kindly Contact my lawyer through this email address
(firstname.lastname@example.org ) or you can call his private
line:+447024053733. if you are interested in carrying out this task,so
that he can arrange the release of the funds ($10,500,000.00) to you. My
lawyer's name is Barrister Walter Ashdown.I know I have never met you but
my mind tells me to do this,and i hope you act well.
Thank you and God bless you.