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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "% commission" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: joseph <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 13:25:49 -0300
Subject: GOOD DAY.
Naturally, this letter will come to you as a surprise since we have not met,
Permit me however to introduce myself; I am a white Zimbabwean Farmer,
currently in hide-out in Zimbabwe. I have funds ($8.5M) to invest in a
I am contacting you as the need for me to have a foreign partner in
your country has become necessary due to my plans to relocate from my
country Zimbabwe So that I can start life all over again?
If you are interested and willing to assist me (for a 25% commission),
Kindly forward me with the following:
1). Full Names, sex and Address
2). Telephone, Fax and Cell phone numbers.
3). Valid International Passport of Yourself.
Please contact me as soon as possible for more details via email:
I will give you more details when I hear from you. You can click on
the link below to get a better understanding of my situation and why I
need to move out my money: