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:
- "million united states 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Okan Phillip <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 12:34:30 +0100
Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU AS MY PARTNER??
REF: PAY-OUT COMMISSION
This is to introduce you to National Petroleum Agency (NPA) of Sao
Tome and Principe.
Although this is certainly not a preferred way of approach to foster a
relationship of trust but because of the circumstances and urgency
surrounding this claim l decided to reach you via this media.
I am a member of staff of the National Petroleum Agency (NPA) of Sao
Tome and Principe. I assisted a foreigner with the registration of a
crude sales License in my country and after operating it for about
four and half years, she was ill and later confirmed that she passed
Now, the NPA have confirmed a payment of about $14.3 Million United
States Dollars as pay-out commission for the crude Sales for the four
and half years the sales operated.
Unfortunately, she or her next of kin is not alive to receive this
pay-out commission and all effort to contact any of her relations has
proved unsuccessful. I decided to reach you, to present you as the
beneficiary to receive this commission balance.
Once I can present you as the beneficiary of the company, you shall
earn the commission and it will be shared between us in the ratio that
we shall agree on. We can decide to also start operation with the
I will require your honest cooperation to enable us see this
partnership through. I guarantee that this will be executed under all
legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the
I will gladly appreciate your understanding and keen interest to be
part of this partnership.
I await your quick response.