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.
- 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 us 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "foreign payment department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. James McPherson" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2012 20:06:37 -0400
Subject: Investment/ Business Proposal
Hi How Are You Doing? Hope you are doing just fine?
Its true that we dont know each other very well but i decided to contact you after going through your profile.
My Names are Dr. James McPherson from London, England. I am working in a big bank in London, United
Kingdom as auditor general and head of computing department. There is a bank account that was opened in
this bank in 1997 and since 2000 nobody has operated on this account again. I took the courage to look
for a reliable and honest person who will be capable for this important transaction. In order to transfer out
the total sum of $25,000,000.00 (Twenty Five Million US Dollars). Once you receive the money, we will
share the money 50/50, that is 50% for me and 50% for you.
After going through some old files I discovered that the owner of this account is a wealthy businessman who
died in The EGYPTAIR plane crash with his wife. This man died without a [heir] or next of kin hence this
money is floating in his dormant account and if I do not remit this money out of the country urgently it will be
forfeited to the government.
According to the UK banking laws, every dormant account is closed after a number of years and the entire
money is returned to the government as UNCLAIMED FUND. I don't want the government to claim this
money for nothing, I want us to work together to claim this money. The owner of this account is a foreign
customer from EGYPT, that is why i need a foreigner from another country to handle this business with me.
The name of our late customer from Egypt is Fathy Tawfeq Hesseen Sherif. Please click on the websites
below for details of the plane crash:
I will use my position and influence in the bank to effect the legal approval and onward transfer of this fund
into your bank account with appropriate clearance from foreign payment department. But you have to
promise me that you will not disappear after receiving this money in your account. I am afraid to do this
business with someone I personally dont know very well, but I have to trust you and believe that we will use
this opportunity to establish good relationship between my family and your family. We will destroy all
documents of transaction immediately you receive this fund in your account leaving no trace.
If you accept my proposal, kindly reply me urgently and give me below information's so that i can forward it
to the bank for immediate transfer of the funds into your personal bank account.
Your Mobile Phone Number
Thanks and God bless.
Dr. James McPherson
PLEASE REPLY TO MY PRIVATE EMAIL: email@example.com