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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
- 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: "David Ellis" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 10:15:52 +0100
Subject: FOR YOUR ATTENTION
My name is DAVID ELLIS of United Kingdom, 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 reallycared 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, I will live my life differently and a better person.
Considering my present predicament, I have willed most of my estate and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few closed friends. It has now done on me that there is more to life after all so, I have decided to give a portion of my estate to charity organizations, as a token of my contribution to mankind.
So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Somalia and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once liquidated one of my accounts and delegated family members and close associates to distribute the money to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan, I later
discovered through my auditors that there was fraud in the distribution of money to the Charities (selfishness). Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them.
As soon as I receive your positive response I will let you know the name of the finance institution where the last of my money is deposited, which is Fourteen Million, Five Hundred thousand United States Dollars Only and I will let you know more details of this project.
Finally, I am soliciting for your assistance to help in transferring the aforementioned sum into your designated bank account and to distribute 80% of this sum to the Charity organizations of my choice, which will be made known to you as soon as the transfer has been completed.
I have set aside 20% for your time.
Please send your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
God be with you.