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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "nuhu sahin" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 11:11:39 -0600
Subject: I plan to activate the account with your name as the original depositor.
I hope this letter meets you in good health. I am in control of US$15,500,000.00 deposited in my bank by the Late Libyan leader Gaddafi.
The fund is being held under a Non-investment account without the Gaddafi Family's name as the late Gaddafi instructed that the funds be kept TOP SECRET until he decides what to do with it.
As the Gaddafis Account Officer and manager of this branch of Public Bank, I plan to activate the account with your name as the original depositor and then process outward remittance of the funds to you.
You will get 35% of the total funds for your role plus investment of my portion under a documented working agreement.
Please get back to me with your response alongside your physical contact address/telephone number and we will move quickly to consummate the deal.
I am presently attending a Seminar in the United Kingdom and would like you to contact me immediately via my email.