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:
- "million 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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "TBT" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "TBT" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2012 18:41:21 -0700
Subject: From Hon.usman mustapha,
Greetings and peace from Allah.
I am Hon.usman mustapha, a former top government official in Nigeria.
I have a serious issue that i want to share with you, and i will be needing your
help. As a former top government official, a conspiracy was set against my political career, recently i have serious problems with Mr President because of an allegation of missing of public funds during my administration in the office as finance minister.
My properties and bank accounts in Nigeria and outside Nigeria has been frozen by Mr. President and i have been Charged to court. I don't know if i will be jailed if found convicted, because in my country, the judiciary is very corrupt, so justice is perverted and as such one should expect the worst violation of human right and justice.
But my lawyers are doing their best so that i don't get sentenced to Jail. Please i need your help to keep an amount of 35 million dollars that is presently in a financial institution in Europe which nobody knows about. If you accept to invest and keep this money, you can take 5 million dollars for yourself. This is better for me, rather than my president should find out to take all the money.
I am happy because the money does not have any trace because all
original documents was not found in my residence in Nigeria. This money released to you within 3 working days. Please confirm your telephone numbers and home/office address for discussion.