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 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)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "William Simon" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 21:39:06 -0400
Subject: Do Your Best For Me
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I
believe everyone will die someday. My name is William Simon I am a
merchant of Oman nationality but presently residing in london.I have
been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer .It has defiled all forms of
medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to
live, according to medical experts.
I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared
for anyone(not even myself)but my business. Though I am very rich, I
was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on
my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret
all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to
have or make all the money in the world.
I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I
would live my life a different way from how I have lived it. Now that
God has called me, I have willed and given most of my property and
assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided
to give alms to charity
organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on
earth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations
in the Oman, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated
so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once asked members of my
family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I
have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they
refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them
anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for
them. The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash
deposit of eighteen million dollars 18,000,000 that I have with a
finance/Banking Sector in United Kingdon. I will want you to help me collect
this deposit and dispatche it to charity organizations.
Get back to me as soon as possible on my private email :
I have set aside 20% for you and for your time.
God be with you.