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:
- "demurrage " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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.
- 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: "Mr. Richard Owen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 14:56:58 +0200
Subject: Attention: Consignee!!
I am Mr. Richard Owen (C.S.C), in charge of scanning cargo
consignments in the inspection department Heathrow International Air
Port Hillingdon, London, United Kingdom.
I am contacting you because of a particular cargo from Ghana
Africa/Europe pacific that was intercepted for some weeks now by the
men in charge of controlling consignment at custom control gate due to
incomplete documentation. This consignment bears your name,email and
particulars as the receiver but was routing for another different
country to your address, meanwhile under diplomatic shipment.
Our men has waited for several days for the cargo escort to forward as
promised with remaining documents but unsuccessful as a result the
consignment has entered ware house Demurrage which is preview to
seizure and subsequent auctioning in a short time...Before process of
Seizure has to be carried out, the officials at the Custom Ware house
have to bring the consignment box to me for scanning in order to
verify actual content.
During my personal scanning of the consignment i was shocked that the
result of my scanning machine displayed United States Dollars Currency
stocked filled in the box. I personally decided not to inform the
authority what my scanning result revealed because if i do, the
authority shall authorize for the consignment to be seized as an
illegal money meant for money laundry, as i can not gain anything from
As the scanning manager who only knows the content of the consignment,
i want you to tell me the truth if this money in the box is original
money and can be spent? Because i am ready to work with you to get the
box released for you to receive your fund in the box provided you
shall compensate me with reasonable amount qualified to the extent of
assistance i shall put in place for the successful receiving of the
fund to you.
By my estimate since the box is completely stocked, i believe that
total value in the box can not be less than $2,200,000.00 ( Two
Million Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) though you
actually know better than me the actual value in the box hence you are
the original hair to the Consignment.
If you are interested for me to work with you as i said disclose to me
immediately your complete name, address, and telephone number.... And
I hope you are aware that you do not expect me to advise you the
importance for you to keep matter of this consignment secrete to
yourself alone knowing what could be the adverse implication should in
case you let another person know. So keep it top secret. contact me on
my email address (email@example.com)
Mr. Richard Owen
Cargo Scanning Officer
Heathrow International Air Port
Hillingdon, London, United Kingdom
My Tel: +44 2079930565
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