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)
- "million us dollars" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Morris Ferdinard" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2010 16:12:33 +0430
Subject: Prompt attention needed
>From The Desk:Dr.Morris Ferdinard(Account Head)
Central Bank of Sao Tome&Principe
Avenida 12 De Julho, Sao Tome
Praca De Independence ,
Cp 13 Sao Tome .
It is understandable that you might be a little bit apprehensive because you do not know me but I have a
lucrative business proposal of mutual interest to someone who suits my proposed business relationship
I am Dr.Morris Ferdinard, the accounting officer-in charge of the Private investment section of the above
named bank. I have decided to contact you on a business Transfer that requires confidentiality, Trust and
transparency, where both of us have a lot to Benefit. During my investigations and auditing in the Accounts
Section, my department came across some amount of money belonging to a deceased person who was a
foreigner here in Sao Tome and died On January 7, 2005 in an auto crash.
The said amount is ($21 million US Dollars) for your Information. I got your contact through international
business Inquiry and my search for a trust worthy business Partner that can handle a business of this
magnitude. Meanwhile all arrangement to put claim to this fund in Your name as the next of kin to the
deceased and get the required approval to transfer this money To a foreign account, has been put in place.
While the next line of action to conclude this transaction in the next 10 working days, Will be relayed to
you as Soon as you indicate your interest in this Transaction.
Central Bank of Sao Tome