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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR MICHAEL PINS" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 11:23:51 -0800
Subject: NOTIFICATION 22.214.171.124
How are you today. I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of ($40.5) MILLION to your account within 7 or 10 banking days.
The transfer is risk free on both sides hence you are going to follow my instructions till the fund is transfered to your account.
Upon receipt of your reply,I will give you full details on how the business will be executed and also note that you will have 40% of the above mentioned while 60% will be for me,
Keep it a secret.I want to brief you how this huge amount came in, in our bank col- Muammar Gaddafi of libya bank the fund,and he never use any one as next of kin.Meaning no body know about this fund only
as his account officer,all i want is you and i to be in possition of this fund,as the manager of this branch FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA, i have every right to change the beneficiary of this fund name to your name as next of kin.
Waiting for your respond for us to proceed for change of ownership. Reply to email@example.com
I am expecting your Urgent response.