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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "million united states 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)
- "i got your address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a next of kin 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: "Mrs.Safia Farkash Gaddafi" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 22:19:45 +0200
Subject: DID YOU RECIEVE MY MAIL?
Mrs.Safia Farkash Gaddafi
Wife of Moammar Gadhafi former libyan President,
private email; email@example.com
Safia Farkash al-Baraasi I am the second wife of the late Libyan leader.
We came to know each other in 1971 when Gaddafi was admitted to a hospital
where I worked as a nurse; we got married the same year and have six sons
and one daughter.
I got your address from my reliable search and so I decided to contact you
on this vital issue. As you may be aware that my husband is presently dead a
long side with one of my sons
in Libya as his administration charges in Libya by the rebel, me and my
three family members had moved to one of our hiding estate unknown to any
body all our travelling documents have be ceased to prevent us from
Please, presently I and my entire family have what I will called MY
FAMILY LAST RESORT to the tune of U$40 (Forty million United States
Dollars) and ready to be released to you with the hope that you will
invest this funds into any good business in your country, pending when the
political turmoil is over. Please if you are interested in helping me to
receive this money that is presently lodge with a security company in
South Africa as family valuables.
After a successful process and transfer of this said money into your bank
account, 30% of the total funds will go to you and my son Alaa will come
to your country immediately to start up a business with your assistance so
we will be able save for raining day. You can found out some of the story
on this web bellow:
I shall give you the contact information of the security company when you
indicate your interest, and my son will assist you on any legal issues to
change the necessary Documents / Documentation to your NAME and Power of
Attorney to secure this fund. I guarantee that this will be executed under
a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law
as it is a 100% risk free venture.
Kindly indicate your interest in assisting my family by providing the
basic information such as
Cell phone number.
Thanks for your service in advance.
Mrs.Safia Farkash Gaddafi
Wife of Moammar Gadhafi former libyan President.