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)
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010 05:44:02 -0700
Subject: RE :
Attn : Sir/Madam
My name is Mrs. Elena Tann. 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 2 years ago,
Immediately after the death of my Husband, who left me everything he worked for.
I have been touched to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to
you for the good work of Humanity, rather than allowing my relatives to use my
Husband's hard earned funds recklessly.
I will be going in for an operation, and I pray that I survive. I have decided
to Will/donate the sum of $10,500,000.00.(Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand
Dollars) to you for the good work of Humanity, and to help the motherless, Less
Privileged and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment I cannot
take any telephone calls, due to the fact that my relatives are around me and I
have been restricted by my doctor from taking telephone calls because I deserve
all the rest I can get. Presently, I have informed my lawyer about my decision
in WILLING these funds to you. I wish you all the best and may you be blessed
Abundantly and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to
Kindly Contact my lawyer through his email: ( email@example.com ) or you can
Call his private Line: (+855-975-450-955), 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 Richard Lee. I know I have never met you but
My mind tells me to do this, and I hope you act sincerely.
NB:I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task
is accomplished, as I don't want anything that will Jeopardize my last wish, due
to the fact that I do not want relatives or family members standing in the way
of my last wish.
Thank you and remain Blessed.