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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "affidavit of claim" (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. )
- "cost of transfer" (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. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "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 delivery" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "a diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Mr.Mansur Muhtar" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 06:01:33 -0600
Subject: Good Offer.
FROM: THE DESK OF FINANCE MINISTER OF NIGERIA.
PHONE: +234 70 88 408 001.
I am Mr Mansur Muhtar The minister of finance federal republic of Nigeria
my office monitors and control the affairs of all other bank and Financial
institutions in Nigeria, I am the final signatory to any fund moving from bank
to bank/ Cash payment locally or internationally
This is to confirm the official receipt of your e-mail with regards to your
over due contract /inheritance payment forwarded to my humble office from the
office of the Committee for Contractors/inheritance payment C.C.I.P/ Federal
Ministry of Finance F.M.F.Bear in mind that your funds has be returned back
to Nigeria because Bank of American cannot pay you.
As the New Executive Minister of Finance, I really appreciate your kind response
to making sure that you work hard to receive your payment very soon. Mind
you Mr.James Gordon presented an affidavit of claim to us authorizing him to
make this claim, based on that we have decided to make the payment only to
you. The amount to be paid is $10.5 million dollars.
It is very imperative that we communicate so that you would know when your
payment will be delivered to you.
Because of too many charges for Cost of transfer etc, and other relevant
documents that will be needed from you to perfect this transaction which will
cost much money, we the Executive board of directors decided to make your
payment available to you in cash through diplomatic means to your doorstep. We are
The good news is that your payment is been packaged in a consignment box,
and I will notify you on a way forward, normally because of the amount of money
involved in this consignments, we totally disregard the idea of having local
courier companies like DHL, FEDEX ETC to handle the delivery of the
consignments to our Foreign debtors to avoid any unnecessary risk.
As soon as your package is ready today we shall hand it over to our
Governmental Banker's pacific express Courier Service, they will have to contact you
to arrange with you to make the delivery of the consignments to your
location, the courier company will appoint a diplomat who will accompany your
consignments to your doorstep for safe delivery.
There is no much time to waste in this payment process; rather I need you to
comply with every delivery obligations from the diplomatic delivery company,
do re-confirm your full delivery address and your direct telephone number to
I await your quick response.
Mr Mansur Muhtar.
Communication code (In God we trust.)