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:
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "is highly confidential" (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Manager" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2010 23:53:16 -0800
With due respect,
This is highly confidential please keep to yourself no third party and if you want us to achieve good success at the end, please keep to my instruction and guideline.
Late John Garang was a big customer of our bank and I was his account manager before he died, over four years after his death no one has come for the fund, so I want you to stand as the beneficiary of the fund.
I will first in store your name in our bank data system as the next of kin to the Late John Garang
I am not in position to apply for the release of this fund due to my position in the bank here, so I want to front you as the next of Kin after I have done my underground work as an insider in the bank.
We will need a service of Attorney here to help us obtain all the necessary legal documents for smooth processing/releasing of the fund and to proof that you are the rightful beneficiary of the fund.
As soon as the lawyer gets the legal documents from court he will present it to our head office on your behalf as your international Lawyer. He will instruct our bank on how to transfer the fund into your account.
Note, my name will not be mentioned due to my position in the bank.
Please if you are willing to work with me, kindly reply through this mail for security reason
With your full information to enable me in store your details in our bank data base system as his next of kin.
This e-mail and any attachments may contain confidential and
privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient,
please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail, delete this
e-mail and destroy any copies. Any dissemination or use of this
information by a person other than the intended recipient is
unauthorized and may be illegal.