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:
- ",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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cheque " (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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. Moses Okochi" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2010 02:30:19 +0100
Subject: RE: ACCEPT MY GRATITUDE FOR YOUR PAST EFFORT.
My Dearest Friend,
I am very Sorry for my late reply, I misplaced your telephone number and decided to inform you through your
e-mail address to inform you that I finally succeeded in transferring the USD$10.5 million with the
assistance of my Chinese American friend, who based on agreement to received 30% for his financial
As part of my gratitude to your past effort in cooperation with me in the business, I am compelled to
compensate you with a Certified Bank Cheque of the sum of $1,500,000.00 Million. So contact my church
Reverend (Anderson Ezego) immediately and direct him to send your Certified Bank Cheque to you. Note
that your Certified Bank Cheque is accepted worldwide by all financial sectors and it is cash confirmable
under 48hours after first deposit. Below is the contact information.
Mr. Anderson Ezego
Remember to send him your full name, mailing address and your contact telephone number for a direct
communication with him. Ask him to send you the certified bank Cheque which i raised for your
compensation. Do not hesitate to let me know immediately you receive the check for us to share the joy.
I'm very busy here in Abu Dhabi "Dubai" on an investment project with my share of the money. I wish you
all the best and thank you once more for being there for me at first.
Barr. Moses Okochi.