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:
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "David S. Freeman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "David S. Freeman" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 05:37:42 +0200 (SAST)
Subject: New Email From A Friend
I am David Freeman, a principal partner at Paul & Williamsons Solicitors in Scotland. I am contacting you because I would like to request for your undivided attention and trust in assisting with the transfer of the funds of my deceased client as next of kin before the British Treasury can commence the confiscation procedures. I advice that there should be utmost confidentiality in all matters I shall discuss with you because it is only on this premise of reliability and implicit trust in our capabilities that the exact dividends of this proposal will be achieved. Privileged information and official instruments at my disposal will enable this proposal in the right perspective for a 100% successful execution rate, it is therefore paramount for me to be assured of your discretion in handling details of this proposal which I will discuss with you once I receive an acknowledgment of this email from you with the assurance that you will work hand-in-hand with me to see these funds released to you. I await your response which should be sent ONLY to my personal email at firstname.lastname@example.org
David S. Freeman