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:
- "a security company " (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. )
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- ",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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Helen George" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 22:40:21 +0200
Subject: CAN YU HELP ME?
URGENT - HELP ME DISTRIBUTE MY $12 MILLION TO HUMANITARIAN.
THIS MAIL MIGHT COME TO YOU AS A SURPRISE AND THE TEMPTATION TO IGNORE IT
AS UNSERIOUS COULD COME INTO YOUR MIND BUT PLEASE CONSIDER IT A DIVINE
WISH AND ACCEPT IT WITH A DEEP SENSE OF HUMILITY. I AM MRS HELEN GEORGE
AND I AM A 61 YEARS OLD WOMAN. I AM A SOUTH AFRICAN MARRIED TO A SIERRA
I WAS THE PRESIDENT/CEO OF OIL COMPANY INTERNATIONAL-AN OIL SERVICING
COMPANY IN JOHANNESBURG. I WAS ALSO MARRIED WITH NO CHILD. MY HUSBAND
DIED 3YEARS AGO. BEFORE THIS HAPPENED MY BUSINESS AND CONCERN FOR MAKING
MONEY WAS ALL I WAS LIVING FOR AND I NEVER REALLY CARED ABOUT OTHER
PEOPLE. BUT SINCE THE LOSS OF MY HUSBAND AND ALSO BECAUSE I HAD HAVE NO
CHILD TO CALL MY OWN, I HAVE FOUND A NEW DESIRE TO ASSIST THE HELPLESS, I
HAVE BEEN HELPING ORPHANS IN ORPHANAGES/MOTHERLESS HOMES/HUMANITARIANS. I
HAVE DONATED SOME MONEY TO ORPHANS IN SUDAN,ETHIOPIA, CAMEROON, SPAIN,
AUSTRIA, GERMANY AND SOME ASIAN COUNTRIES.
IN SUMMARY:- I HAVE 12,000,000.00 (TWELVE MILLION) U. S. DOLLARS WHICH I
DEPOSITED IN A SECURITY COMPANY IN COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC AS A FAMILY
TREASURE & ARTEFACTS, PLEASE I WANT YOU TO NOTE THAT THE SECURITY
COMPANY DOES NOT KNOW THE REAL CONTENT TO BE MONEY AND I WANT YOU TO
ASSIST ME IN CLAIMING THE CONSIGNMENT & DISTRIBUTING THE MONEY TO CHARITY
ORGANIZATIONS, I AGREE TO REWARD YOU WITH PART OF THE MONEY FOR YOUR
ASSISTANCE, KINDNESS AND PARTICIPATION IN THIS GODLY PROJECT. BEFORE I
BECAME ILL, I KEPT $12 MILLION IN A LONG-TERM DEPOSIT IN A SECURITY
COMPANY WHICH I DECLARED AS A FAMILY TREASURE ARTIFIARTS.I AM IN THE
HOSPITAL WHERE I HAVE BEEN UNDERGOING TREATMENT
FOR OESOPHAGEAL CANCER AND MY DOCTORS HAVE TOLD ME THAT I HAVE ONLY A FEW
MONTHS TO LIVE.
IT IS MY LAST WISH TO SEE THIS MONEY DISTRIBUTED TO CHARITY
ORGANIZATIONS. BECAUSE MY RELATIVES AND FRIENDS HAVE PLUNDERED SO MUCH OF
MY WEALTH SINCE MY ILLNESS, I CANNOT LIVE WITH THE AGONY OF ENTRUSTING
THIS HUGE RESPONSIBILITY TO ANY OF THEM. PLEASE, I BEG YOU IN THE NAME OF
GOD TO HELP ME COLLECT THE $12 MILLION WHICH I DEPOSIT WITH THE NAME OF
MY LATE HUSBAND AS THE NEXT OF KIN BECAUSE NOW DUE TO MY HEALTH THE
SECURITY COMPANY IS DEMANDING FOR A NEXT OF KIN IN OTHER TO GET THE MONEY
TRANSFERRED IN OTHER TO SEE THAT MY LAST WISH IS ACCOMPLISHED WHICH IS
SHARING THE MONEY AMONG CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS.YOU ARE AT LIBERTY TO USE
YOUR DISCRETION TO DISTRIBUTE THE MONEY AND FEEL FREE AS WELL TO
REIMBURSE YOURSELF WHEN YOU HAVE THE MONEY FOR ANY EXPENSES IN
DISTRIBUTING THE MONEY TO CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS.
I AM WILLING TO REWARD YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE AND KINDNESS.
KINDLY EXPEDITE ACTION AND CONTACT ME VIA EMAIL AT email@example.com
FOR MORE DETAILS.
MAY THE GOOD LORD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?
MRS HELEN GEORGE
PLZ REPLLY TO MY PRIVATE EMAILBOX: firstname.lastname@example.org