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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Lisa Breckman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 17 May 2011 06:21:39 +0200 (SAST)
I am Engr.Mrs Lisa Breckman, a consultant project manager of, South
Africa Department of Minerals and Energy. I am making this contact with
you based on the Committee need for an individual/company who is willing
to assist us with a solution to a money transfer.
This amount $28.5m represents the balance of the total contract Value
Executed on behalf of Department by a foreign contracting firm, which we
the officials over-invoiced deliberately, of which the actual sum has been
Should you be willing to assist us in the transaction your share of the
sum will be 30% of the $28.5 million, 70% for us.
To enable us commence, I will need your personal telephone/fax number.
Thank you, whilst waiting your immediate response. : Tel:+27 739726059
Mrs Lisa Breckman