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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "Dr. Archer Greg" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2010 12:57:49 -0700
Subject: My name is Mrs. Faith Zenwakolo.
My name is Dr (Mrs.) Faith Zenwakolo, a dying woman who has decided to
donate what I have to charity through any thoughtful and selfless someone, I
got your information while browsing through the internet, although I am not
comfortable using this medium owing to the unsolicited emails everywhere but
someone has to be used to save this transaction. So, I honestly crave your
indulgence to digest and do what I have to say, please.
I am a 59 years old woman and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago,
after the death of my husband who had left me everything he worked for. I
have decided to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband for
charity through you since I cannot do it all by myself considering my
I have WILLED/donated the sum of $5,500,000 (Five million five hundred
thousand united state dollars) to you/Organization for the less privileged
rather than allow my greedy relatives to use my husband's hard earned funds
I will be going for an operation tomorrow morning and at the moment I cannot
take any telephone calls, however, I have adjusted my WILL and my Executor
is aware. Please, you and him should arrange the transfer of the funds from
my Finance company to your humble self, wherever you are. Please contact my
Executor with his private E-mail:
NAME: BARRISTER ALBERT OFUOKU
With your full names, phone/fax numbers and your contact address and tell
him you are the one that I have WILLED the sum of $5,500,000 to, for
specific and good work.
I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task
is accomplished as I do not want anything that will jeopardize my last wish.
I will try and be in contact with you at any given opportunity.
I wish you all the best and, please use the funds well and always extend the
good work to others.
Dr (Mrs.) Faith Zenwakolo
Note: Dr Archer Greg is my personal doctor and I am sending you this mail
through his email.