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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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: "PAUL SMITH." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 22:37:50 -0500
Subject: Good News Contact Mr.Michael Wale Immediately
Good News Contact Mr.Michael Wale Immediately
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this
mail meets you in a perfect condition. I am using this opportunity to thank
you for your great effort to our unfinished transfer of fund into your
account due to one reason or the other best known to you.
But I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out
of my bank to someone else account who was capable of assisting me in this
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trust worthiness you showed at
the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude
to you with the sum of $1,000.000.00 (One Million United States Dollars) I
have authorized the finance house where I deposited my money to issue you
international certified bank draft cashable at your bank.
My dear friend I will like you to contact the finance house for the
collection of this international certified bank draft.
The name and contact address of the Person with your Cheque Mr.Michael Wale
is as follows.
At the moment, I'm very busy here because of the investment projects which
myself and my new partner are having at hand.Finally, remember that I have
forwarded instruction to the finance house on your behalf to send the bank
draft to you as soon as you contact them without delay.
Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from
the bottom of my heart.
Thanks and God bless you and your family.
Hope to hear from you soon.