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:
- 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 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)
- ",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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447024032995 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Andrew Dey" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 May 2012 04:08:51 -0700
Subject: Re Mr. Dey
Barclays Bank Plc, London
URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL
I hope this proposal meets you in a good state of health.
I need your help to transfer and invest US$10,000,000.00 (Ten Million United States Dollars Only) that accumulated as undeclared profit made by this branch of Barclays Bank Plc, London under my management.
All that is required to get the funds transferred out of here is to put your name on the Non-investment account holding the funds. This practically makes you a Non-Resident customer of Barclays Bank Plc, London.
I will then guide you on how to apply for Closure of the Account and credit transfer of the funds to your designated bank account. You will get 40% of the funds for your role.
If you get back to me with your physical contact address and direct telephone number, we will consummate the funds transfer within one week. I am only to be contacted via
Private Telephone Number: +44 702 4032995
Private Fax Number: +44 700 3900426
Private Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org