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:
- "hundred thousand u.s 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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Michael Robert" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 16:16:24 -0000
Subject: YOUR PAYMENT OF US$7.500, 000.00 HAS APPROVED
Dear Valuable Customer,
Good day to you from all our entire departments of Independence Community Bank located at Accra North, Ghana.
During our last edition, the Management of this Bank discovered a deposit of US$7.500, 000.00 (Seven Million-Five Hundred Thousand U.S Dollars) only on your Name. It may interest you to know that the Management of this Bank has made a public notice to inform you that your Payment is due for transfer. You are required to contact our Foreign Remittance Department of this Bank for more inquiries about your Payment with the below details.
Anticipate your urgent response by contacting our Foreign Remittance Department for more inquiries through this email with the below details.
1. Your Complete Name
2. Telephone Numbers
3. Residential Address
4. Your Age/Gender
5. Your Occupation
Yours in Service.
Mr. Michael Robert.
Independence Community Bank.
Tel: +233 (0) 540878645.