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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million us 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)
- "% commission" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Paul Anderson" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 22:11:07 +0300
Subject: I wait your responds...
My name is Paul Anderson Esq. Financial Consultant/Attorney based in London. I write to you based on a request by an investor and his need for investment/funds transfer. My company most times represents the interests of very wealthy Investors/Individuals due to the sensitivity of the position they hold in the society and the unstable investment environment of their country, they evacuate majority of their funds into more stable economies and developed nations where they can get good yield for their money.
I was recently approached by a Reserved Client of mine, whom I had personally worked with a few years ago when he was a Finance Minister and wants me to source for a reliable and trustworthy individual such as yourself, who will be willing to receive money on his behalf abroad, and at the same time advise on what form of investment that will be embarked with the funds when perfectly received.
The client has offered these terms: 25% commission paid to you upon receipt of the funds through the original sum to be transferred. The funds in question are $125.3Million US Dollars.
Your details will be used to have the funds evacuated and you will stand as the principle owner of the funds and will deal directly with the Finance Company without the involvement of the Investor. If these terms are agreeable to you, kindly write to my private email: email@example.com and I will provide you with all necessary information and procedures involved.
Paul Anderson ESQ (President)
P. Anderson & Associates Limited.