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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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: "Mrs Aminat Muhammad" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 15:55:10 +0200
Subject: Please read and consider my request.
My name is Mrs Aminat Muhammad from Libya, i am in spain at the moment as a political refugee due to the recent problem in my country. My husband is dead as a result of the fight and we have lost everything that we own except for the 33m Euros (Thirty Three Million Euros) deposited in an offshore bank in europe by my late husband.
I need your urgent assistance to quickly transfer this momey from the present bank to another bank of your choice in your name to avoid any trace as regarding the source, it is the only thing left for me now and i wish to start a new life with it. I am ready to offer you 50% of the money to stand as the beneficiary and transfer it to a new bank account. I believe you can help me but on the contrary please forgive my indulgence and delete this email without sharing the content with anybody.
This money rightfully belongs to me because it is a marriage gift from my husband on our first anniversary and it could be confiscated by the european government. This is the only thing left for me please help me to CHANGE my present situation. I will be able to get a telephone here if you wish to speak with me but for now here is my personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please you must keep this very personal and i promise that you will never be disappointed. Thank you very much for your time.
Mrs Aminat Muhammad