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:
- 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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "because it still remains the fastest medium of communication" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a trustworthy foreign business partner" (the question is not whether they can trust you, but whether you have any reason to trust this person or anyone this person tells you to contact)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "can i trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Romeo Ormskerk <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 03:08:28 +0200
Subject: your good will
WITH ABSOLUTE TRUST IN GOD AND DUE RESPECT TO YOU
I WRITE YOU THIS LETTER WHICH I BELIEVE WOULD BE OF
GREAT ASSISTANCE TO ME AND WOULD KEEP THE
INFORMATION CONFIDENTIAL.HAVING GOT YOUR E-MAIL ON
THE INTERNET.THOUGH THIS MEDIUM (INTERNET) HAS BEEN
GREATLY ABUSED I CHOSE TO REACH YOU THROUGH IT
BECAUSE IT STILL REMAINS THE FASTEST MEDIUM OF
COMMUNICATION, I AM MR.Romeo Ormskerk A DUTCH CITIZIEN
WHO WORK WITH THE AMERICAN RED CROSS IN GREATER NEW
YORK AND SERVE IN THE MILITARY OF THE 2ND ARMORED
DIVISION FOR PEACE KEEPING MISSION IN IRAQ, AS YOU
KNOW WE HAVE BEING ATTACKED BY INSURGENTS EVERYDAY
AND CAR BOMBS. WE WHERE LUCKY TO MOVE FUNDS
BELONGING TO SADDAM HUSSEINS FAMILY HOPPING IT WAS
A BOMB IN THE BOX, LATER WE FIND OUT IT WAS A FISCAL
CASH. THE TOTAL AMOUNT IS US$20,000,000 (TWENTY
MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS IN CASH) MOSTLY 100
DOLLAR BILLS. WE ARE SEEKING FOR A TRUSTWORTHY
FOREIGN BUSINESS PARTNER WHO CAN HELP US IN
RECEIVING THIS BOX OF MONEY SO THAT HE/SHE MAY
IT FOR US AND KEEP OUR SHARE FOR BANKING. THIS IS
OUR PLAN OF SHARING MY PARTNER AND I WILL TAKE 80%,
YOU TAKE THE OTHER 20%. NO STRESS ATTACHED, FOR WE
HAVE MADE ALL NECESSARY ARRANGEMENT FOR SHIPPING IT
OUT OF IRAQ, IRAQ IS A WAR ZONE. WE PLANED ON USEING
DIPLOMATIC COURIER SERVICE FOR SHIPPING THE MONEY
OUT IN ONE LARGE SILVER BOX DECLARING IT AS FAMILY
VALUABLES USING DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY. IF YOU ARE
INTERESTED I WILL SEND YOU THE FULL DETAILS, MY JOB
IS TO FIND A GOOD PARTNER THAT WE CAN TRUST TO
ASSIST US .CAN I TRUST YOU?IF YES PLEASE SEND YOUR
REPLY TO MY PRIVATE MAIL BOX:firstname.lastname@example.org
WHEN YOU RECEIVE THIS
LETTER, PLEASE KINDLY SEND ME AN E-MAIL SIGNIFYING
YOUR INTREST INCLUDING YOUR MOST CONFIDENTIAL
TELEPHONE/FAX NUMBERS FOR QUICK COMMUNICATION ALSO
YOUR CONTACT DETAILS. THIS BUSINESS IS RISK FREE.
THE BOX CAN BE SHIPPED OUT TO YOU IN TWO WORKING