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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- ",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)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Elder Israel Brown" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2010 20:19:59 -0700
Subject: NEED YOUR HELP
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for
me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.
My name is Israel Brown I am a merchant of
Oman nationality but presently residing in London.
I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer .
It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and
right now I have only about a few months to live,
according to medical experts.
I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I
never really cared for anyone (not even myself)but my
business. Though I am very rich, I was never
generous, I was always hostile to people and only
focused on my business as that was the only thing I
cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know
that there is more to life than just wanting to have
or make all the money in the world.
I believe when God gives me a second chance to come
to this world I would live my life a different way
from how I have lived it. Now that God has called
me, I have willed and given most of my property
and assets to my immediate and extended family
members as well as a few close friends.
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul
so, I have decided to give alms to charity
organizations, as I want this to be one of the last
good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed
money to some charity organizations in the Oman,
Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has
deteriorated so badly,I cannot do this myself
anymore. I once asked members of my family to close
one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have
there to charity organization in Bulgaria and
Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to
themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as
they seem not to be contended with what I have left
The last of my money which no one knows of is the
huge cash deposit of eighteen million dollars
18,000,000 that I have with a Security Company
in Europe. I will want you to help me collect this
deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations.
I have set aside 20% for you and for your time.
God be with you.
+44 7624 15 5287 OR 01144 7624 15 5287