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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: Margret Corsy <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 23:37:09 +0100
Subject: READ AND REPLY BACK
Dear respected one,
I am writing this mail with a broken heart, contacting you by faith
even though we have never met in person or had formal discussion but
situation has compelled me to initiate this move. My husband was a
successful businessman before he died few years ago, before he gave up
his ghost on that fateful day, he told me about the US$10.5 Million he
deposited in one of the reputable banks which I will disclose to you
Recently I called the bank where the fund is deposited, the bank
confirmed to me that the fund is now due for claim that I should come.
Haven received several threats from the family; I decided to leave my
country for our safety. None of my husband's family member is aware of
my location now, I am writing you from a hotel room and please you
should try and keep this message confidential for security reasons.
I am contacting you to help me receive the fund in your account so
that I and my son will quickly come over there for the investment
(Real Estate or any lucrative business you might suggest), because of
the urgency of this matter I will like you to call me on this number
once you read this mail: +22998520796 so that we can discuss more and
what will be your commission for the help.
Thanks as I wait for your reply and call.