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:
- 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 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Vincent Lawnson." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2011 19:21:08 +0200
Subject: Hello Friend
Thank you for your response. Please do bear with me as this is a personal email directed to you and I
request that it should be treated as such. I am a bank manager with a leading bank in Europe with
branches in numerous cities and countries worldwide.I am the personal accounts officer to the now
incarcerated Bernard Madoff who as you know made headlines in the much talked about Wall Street's
biggest investment fraud in which he has been imprisoned.
I am contacting you because you seem like the kind of person who can assist me on this and knowing for
a fact that i can trust and count on your support in order for this to finally see the light of day and for
reasons i will explain later to you once i get a further correspondent from you.
I was instructed by my client to have the funds transferred out of it's current location before it is traced by
the government,i did ask for it to be moved to any of his family or relatives,but he quickly objected to this
due to the fact that it would be easily traced.However,going by the recent publications by the Trustee bank
in which my client deposited the sum of $35.8m(dollars) I fear a likely winding up proceedings in the coming
months.I seek your consent therefore, to present you to the trustees/bank as my client's business
partner/beneficiary so that you can help repatriate the money to a foreign account and I promise a fair
share of 60%-40% sharing ratio at the end of the transfer.If you are very interested, contact me through
my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible and I shall appraise you with the full
I want to assure you that I have all the requirements to execute this claim.Like I said, I require only a
solemn confidentiality on this.Please let me have your opinion as soon as possible and send to me your
telephone and fax numbers to enable us discuss further on this transaction.
Mr. Vincent Lawnson.