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:
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Hassan Osman <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 07:31:14 +0100
Subject: Re: Project!!
After my official inquiry from the foreign trade office of the
chambers of commerce & industry here, I decided to contact you but I
did not disclose the intention to anyone else because of the delicate
nature of the project. I found your profile very interesting and
decided to reach you directly to solicit for your assistance. Please,
I must plead for your confidence in this transaction. I am a high
placed official working with the President of Libya (Col. Muammar
I was serving as the President's Aid - De - Camp (ADC), am currently
in need of an experienced silent foreign partner whom I can trust to
push some of the funds he deposited in my name in various financial
firms in some countries he has business with.
Actually, my good friend, I was inducted by Col. Muammar Gaddafi after
seeing my trust. I have been in charge of all financial matters
concerning his funds due to the trust the President has on me, as you
know in military, ADC is someone you must trust more than any one
I want your assistance to move some of these funds to your country as
you know that my boss is dead. I will allow you to invest it in your
business or in any good business. All necessary documents will be made
available for prove in needed time.
I plead with you on one issue, whether you are interested or not,
kindly do not expose this information to any one else. I confirm that
the transaction is legitimate and without any risk either to me or
yourself. Please, give me your response immediately by returning this
mail through my email address.