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:
- "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 unit " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Undept" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 1 May 2011 13:45:00 -0700
With kind regards, we wish to inform you that your
kept in our custody was fished out during our
As a matter of urgency, we will like to see that
all goods seized or kept
with our diplomatic unit are been dispatch to its
delivery destination. You
are hereby free to contact my desk for delivery. We
are willing to deliver
to your destination.
All delivery consignment /goods will be
certified......, our duty is to
protect your interest and keep your goods.
As you may know this is a committee set up by
the united nation with the
Ghana government to deliver all refugees related
money to their owner. And
this committee is 15 day old.
This committee was set up after series of petition
to the UNITED NATION head
office in NEW YORK. And during this patrol our men found
two boxes which your contact email is on
it and after scanning the boxes we
discover they contain
$25million dollars each.
This committee will want you to get back to us so
that we can deliver to
This committee can only make the delivery of this fund on three
1. You are to give 5% to tsunami victims.
2. 5% to charity homes of your choice.
3. 5% to U.N office close to you
All this you are to do after delivery.
I will be waiting for you.
You call also contact me with my number.