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:
- "million 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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Federal Ministry of Finance" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 08:44:28 -0700
Subject: Your Inheritance Payment Notification/Solution
Urgent Attention: Beneficiary
This is to announce to you that your inheritance/contract payment valued
$25.5 million dollars has been approved and your payment file is among those
that will receive payment into their account with immediate effect.
The senate committee on foreign payment announce this today after meeting with
the executive council. However, you are advice to contact Dr. Clement
Ikoh with your following information 1, your full names; 2,your official
address 3, your cell phone numbers; 4, Your banking information; 5 Your
You are strictly advice to contact Dr. Clement Ikoh via his information below
Dr. Clement Ikoh
Senate building Office of the Presidency Aso Rock Abuja
Tel: +234 176 80570
For further information, you are to obtain a waiver from him and this will
make it much easier for you to receive your legal inheritance/contract payment
without any hitch as announced by the senate committee.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation
Mrs. Esther Ndom
For Minister of Finance