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:
- "outstanding contractors" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "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)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "SENATOR PHILIP EDWARD" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 8 May 2010 01:28:48 +0300 (EAT)
Subject: RE:PAYMENT ADVICE
>From the records of outstanding contractors due for payment with the
federal government of Nigeria.Your name and company was discovered as
next on the list of the outstanding contractors who have not received their
payments.I wish to inform you that your payment is being processed and
will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter. Also
note that from my records your outstanding contract payment is US$8.5
Million Dollars.Please re-confirm to me if this is inline with what you
have in your records and also re-confirm to me the following.
1) Your full name.
2) Telephone and fax number, if possible include you mobile telephone number.
3) Company name,position and address.
4) Profession, age and marital status.
As soon as this information is received, your payment will be made to you
in a certified bank draft and a copy will be given to you to take to your
bank for confirmation.Please get back to me via this above email address.
SENATOR PHILIP EDWARD