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:
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Lesetja Kganyago <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2019 14:41:10 +0000
Subject: AUTHORIZATION OF YOUR FUND
South African Reserve Bank
370 Helen Joseph Street, Pretoria, 0002
This is very urgent and your attention is needed.
In our office sometime last month, One Mr. John T. Carlos of 1200 Fitch
Way, Sacramento, CA. 95864 filed an application contrary to your Pending
fund transfer. The above mentioned person visited this Bank ON 6TH June
2019 with a power of attorney given in his favor by your good self,
granting him the benefit to process and claim your inheritance of
$15,000,000.00(Fifteen Million United States Dollars Only) for personal
He further stated that your online account should be terminated while
the fund should be wired to his Bank account with Bank of America,
Routing Number 121000358. We have asked Mr. John T. Carlos to come back
to the Bank within 48hours to enable us have a personal
Confirmation from you, being hitherto the beneficiary.
Our office needs to know:
Did you instruct one Mr. John T. Carlos of 1200 Fitch way, Sacramento,
CA. 95864, to claim and receive the payment on your behalf?
Did you sign any 'Deed of Assignment' in his favor thereby making him
the current beneficiary?
We are sorry to have delayed your instruction in giving out this fund
since we must adhere to the procedures of this honorable bank by making
sure this request is verified and confirmed by the beneficiary and his
Contact Mr. Francois Groepe Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of South
Africa to Assist you for clearance and represent your interest for the
Release of Fund to your Account as Reserve Bank does not deal with
Individual but Banks Contact Mr. Francois Groepe on this email Account
Email: email@example.com Mobile: +27780414618 Contact
Mr. Francois Groepe with your Details and Cooperate with him to Guide
you how to Obtain Clearance for the Immediate Release of your fund to
your Account. Soon as you have contacted Mr. Francois Groepe ask him to
help you Obtain Clearance that is the only Document that will be
required from you for the release of the fund to your account.
Your confirmation to the above will be appreciated. We look forward to
hearing from you soon.
South African Reserve Bank.