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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "a security company " (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. )
- "i got your address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Paul Richard" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 10:56:14 +0100
Subject: BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP AND MUTUAL BENEFIT.
First, I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction and I pray that my decision to contact you will be given a genuine approval, considering the fact that we have not met or known each other before. My name is Paul Beckett, I got your address from a business directory; I therefore decide to contact you for assistance and advice.
I am seeking a faithful, sincere and reliable foreigner who will assist me in investing my late father's fortune in the amount of Nine Million, Three Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand US Dollars (US$9,325.000.00USD) and 400Kg of alluvial gold dust and gold bars.
My father Mr. Michael E. Beckett was the former Chairman of Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited. My father diverted some of the gold products and money to a Security Company here in Accra Ghana for safe keeping as family treasure since there was much recession/scramble in the company trading activities.
My father was planning to use the funds to go into Real Estate before his sudden death. As the next of kin and the male child of my late father, I have the legal right to claim my entire father's fortune. I do not wish to invest the funds here for personal and security reasons, this is why I need you so we can work the deal together and at the end of the day, I am ready to offer you your percentage. Note that you stand no risk at all in assisting me to conclude this transaction because the money and the gold is legitimately my family fortune.
If you are interested to be my foreign partner, kindly advice me as soon as
Possible so I can give you details.
You can contact me through my private email (email@example.com) for easy response.
My Warmest Regards,