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:
- "million 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.
- 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.
- +22997579947 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: Samuel Patrick <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 21:01:18 +0000
Subject: GOOD DAY.
FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION:
I AM SORRY IF I AM INTRUDING INTO YOUR PRIVACY BY CONTACTING YOU SINCE I DO NOT KNOW YOU PHYSICALLY. THE FACT IS THAT I HAVE BEEN DIRECTED BY THE SPIRIT OF HUMANITARIAN SERVICE TO YOU KNOWING FULLY WELL THAT YOU WILL RESPOND TO THIS OFFER THAT I SHALL BE PUTTING FORWARD TO YOU.
COULD YOU PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING ME TO RELOCATE THIS SUM OF FIFTHY MILLION, THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS (US$50.3m) TO YOUR COUNTRY FOR ESTABLISHING A MEDIUM SIZE INDUSTRY IN YOUR COUNTRY? THE SAID 50.3 MILLION DOLLARS WAS DEPOSITED IN OUR BANK BY MRS JOYCE LAKE AN AMERICA CITIZEN WHO DIED IN A PLANE CRASH IN 2000.WE HAVE TRIED TO CONTACT HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO COME FORWARD FOR CLAIMS BUT COULD NOT SUCCEED. WE DISCORVERED THAT THE LATE AMERICAN DIED ALONG SIDE WITH HER HUSBAND AND CHILDREN WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HER NEXT OF KIN.
I WILL GIVE YOU ALL VITAL INFORMATION CONCERNING THE AMERICAN AND THE US$50.3MILLION DOLLARS IN OUR CUSTODY SO THAT YOU WILL CONTACT OUR BANK FOR THEM TO RELEASE THE MONEY TO YOU. YOU CAN COME HERE IN PERSON OR YOU CAN REQUEST THE BANK TO SHIP THE FUNDS TO YOU IN YOUR COUNTRY DIPLOMATICALLY.
I AM HER ACCOUNT OFFICER IN THE BANK, SO SHE IS MY CLIENT IN THIS BANK, I WILL PLAY A ROLE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE 50.3 MILLION DOLLARS IS RELEASED TO YOU. AS SOON AS I RECIEVE YOUR REPLY, I WILL GIVE YOU A DRAFT APPLICATION WHICH YOU WILL FORWARD TO OUR BANK. REPLY AND LET ME KNOW YOUR FULL NAME, AGE, ADDRESS, OCCUPATION, AND YOUR DIRECT TELE AND FAX NUMBERS IF AVALIABLE.
I WAIT FOR YOUR KIND REPLY.
DIRECT LINE+229 97 57 99 47