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.
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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 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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sgt. Scott Wright" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 2010 13:47:43 +0100
I am Sgt. Scott Wright, a NATO Soldier in peace keeping force in Iraq, I am
serving in the military of the 1st Armoured Division in Iraq, as you
know we are
being attacked by insurgents everyday and car bombs are attacking us.
We managed to move some funds belonging to Saddam Hussein in the tune
of USD $45
Million Dollars in cash. We want to move this Fund out of Iraq to your
custody and you will keep our share for us until we return to meet with you.
You are to take 30% of the total $45 Million Dollars and keep 70% for
me and my
colleagues. Please No strings attached, we plan on using private diplomatic
courier to dispatch the Fund out of Iraq, if you are interested on
deal with me, kindly send me an e-mail indicating your interest including
your confidential telephone numbers for quick communication.
Sgt. Scott Wright