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:
- "please indicate your willingness" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Tabu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 2 May 2011 09:07:18 +0100 (BST)
Subject: CHECK UP ON THIS PROPOSAL AND GET BACK TO ME
FROM: DR.SILB TABU,
BILL AND EXCHANGE MANAGER,
BANK OF AFRICA
Attn: Sir/ Madam,
This message might meet you in utmost surprise. However, I am a banker by profession with bank of africa, BURKINA-FASO, WEST AFRICA and currently holding the post of bill and exchange manager in our bank. I got your contact from a reliable international directory where I decided to choose you as to assist me pull into your bank account the sum of twenty Million United States Dollars ($20M) from our bank belonging to DR GEORGE BRUMLEY from AMERICA who died along with his entire family in the kenya airways.
Hence; I am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio of 50/50 if you agree to my business proposal. Further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as I receive your mail together with application form to fill and apply to the bank as the next of kin,immediately.Please indicate your willingness by sending the below information for more clarification and easy communication.
(1) YOUR FULL NAME
(2) YOUR CONTACT ADDRESS
(3) YOUR TEL AND FAX NUMBER
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
Thanks & Best Regards,
Dr Silb Tabu