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:
- 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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "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)
- "diplomatic delivery" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
Fraud email example:
From: "METLIFE INSURANCE COMPANY" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 00:34:29 -0700
Subject: METLIFE INSURANCE COMPANY.. ( URGENET RESPOND NEEDED)
MetLife Insurance Company
Metlife Insurance Company, Ghana
This is to inform you that the sum of US$12.000,000,00
Twelve Million United States Dollars has been allocated to you which was
deposited by Late Charles Eduwo here in the MetLife Insurance Company of Ghana
, Due to the lost of foreign client, who has helped in the growths of this
company. We are deeply sorry for the lost. The management and staff of METLIFE
INSURANCE COMPANY GHANA
send our condolence to the families of the late desease.
He has also invested more than $5.000,000,00 Five Million United States Dollars
with a rewardable profit of $10,000 Dollars which is payed monthly to he’s
account which has now been mandated to be transferred to you, All you need to
do is to send us the details on how you want the money to be sent to you.
Option on how the payment will be sent to you!
1) United Nation Diplomatic Delivery
2) Bank to Bank wire Transfer
3) Dhl Express Delivery Service
4) Atm Company
5) Western Union Money Transfer
6) Money Gram Express Payment
We Provide retirement plan and other financial services to healthcare,
education, and non profitable organizations! The
for Special needs planning is a group of planners which serve families and
individuals with special motive as soon as you admonish us your preferable
option among the options. We were asked to contact you by the barrister binding
the late depositor which sincerely authorised the MetLife Insurance Company to
get a valid contact with you since you happen to be the next of kin to the
funds that was deposited by Late Charles Eduwo.
Please endeavor to contact us so that we can proceed with the payment as soon
as possible because your satisfaction is our goal.
Dr. Mike Kofi.
MetLife Insurance Company.