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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Jorge Machunga" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2011 19:36:26 -0100
Subject: letter from the EU European union
I wish to quickly bring to your notice that we have received a letter from
the EU European union regards to some amount
deposited in our bank in your name, we have been trying to contact your
telephone number for the past 2 weeks now but to no
avail, we have decided to send you email with the details of the funds.
Funds Deposited : 20million Euro
Funds Allert: By Eu European Union
The Fund was deposited unanimusely by in your name as the next of kin via EU,
we received this alert some weeks back and as
such have been trying to contact you for further advice on how to remit to
you as soon as possible. The funds is now in an
escrow account in your name fully secured you need to kindly contact this
bank quickly as possible with the following
information for verification.
Your Full Name:
Any Form of ID:
As soon as we receive this information from you by email:
email@example.com we shall proceed immediately on wiring
the funds to your nominated account upon our conclusion with verification.
Head Customer Service unit.
This message has been scanned for viruses and
dangerous content by MailScanner, and is
believed to be clean.