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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "please indicate your willingness" (a common phrase found 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Austin Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 22:04:47 +0000
Subject: PLEASE THIS MESSAGE IS NOT A SPAM, BUT CAN I TRUST YOU?
FROM THE DESK OF MR AUSTIN BROWN
HSBC BANK LONDON
Attn: Sir/ Madam,
message might meet you in utmost surprise. However, it is just my
urgent need for a foreign partner that made me to contact you for this
Besides, you may be wondering how I got your email
address, I got it from Google site when I was doing searching for a
good business partner.
I assure of your capability and
reliability to champion this business opportunity when I prayed towards
this venture. I am a banker by profession with HSBC BANK LONDON and
currently holding the post of bill and exchange manager in our bank. I
have the opportunity of transferring the left over funds of Eighteen
Million, Five Hundred Thousand GBP (£18.5GBP) belonging to (DR GEORGE
BRUMLEY) from AMERICA who died along with his entire family in the
Hence; I am inviting you for a business deal
where this money can be shared between us in the ratio of 50/50 if you
agree to my business proposal. Further details of the transfer will be
forwarded to you as soon as I receive your mail immediately.
Please indicate your willingness by sending the below information for more clarification and easy communication:
(1) YOUR FULL NAME
(2) YOUR CONTACT ADDRESS
(3) YOUR TEL AND FAX NUMBER
(4) DATE OF BIRTH
You can contact me with this email address: email@example.com
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
Thanks & Best Regards,
Mr Austin Brown.