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:
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: sen osita izunaso <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 11:16:02 +0000
Subject: BUSINESS FOR YOU
I am Senator Osita lzunaso, of the senate of the Federal Republic of
I humbly request of you to assist me find a good and comfortable real
estate or any other profitable investment in the United States of
America, Canada,Asia,Middle East or any part of Europe for me to
invest in.l have $10,500,000(Ten Million,Five Hundred Thousand United
States Dollars) to be invested.
If you would assist me get any and the fund transferred to your
country,l am ready to pay you 20 % of the value of the fund for your
agency. I am ready to make the payment immediately the authenticity of
the property is verified and ascertained. Also, all the transactions
therein and management of the investment shall be entrusted to you
only if you prove a reliable and trustworthy partner.
REPLY ME ON: email@example.com
Thanks for your anticipated cooperation.