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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- "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)
- 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.
- +447035976471 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: James Williams <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2013 14:04:41 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: James Williams has shared a file with you.
James Williams has shared files with you.
|Message: Prime Minister's Office
10 Downing Street,
London, SW1A 2AA
Foreign Reserve Department,
Tel: +44 70 359 764 71
Re: Code Number 811
Sequel to the taking over of the British Prime Minister Mr David
Cameron in year 2011, be informed that he has instructed that all
outstanding foreign debt accruing from INHERITANCE FUNDS, FUNDS TRAPPED IN LOCAL AND FOREIGN BANKS, SCAM VICTIMS and its associated cases should be
compensated immediately through this office. We discovered that you were
mislead by some officers who took advantage of you as a result of demanding
one payment after another from you instead of releasing your funds to you.
You are warned to stop further communication with anybody in respect of
your payment with effect from today if you wish to receive your fund
successfully without further delay. Your payment file is right here with
us and we have are set to complete your payment immediately as instructed
by Prime Minister David Cameron and ministry of internal affair, who has
approved the sum of $500,000.000.00 (Five Hundred Million United States
Dollar Only), to be shared among the affected scam victims around the
Note: that we have been mandated to issue out $2,000,000.00 (Two Million
US Dollars Only) as a part payment to you for this fiscal year 2013 that
will be paid through CITIBANK LONDON UK DIRECT TRANSFER TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT OF YOUR CHOICE/ZENITH BANK PLC, LONDON UK DEBIT ATM CARD where most of the scam committed. if you will like to receive your fund this week let us know immediately by contacting me upon the receipt of this notification and also reconfirm the following information
6. Phone Number:
7. Choose from the two payment option center.
A. CITIBANK LONDON UK DIRECT TRANSFER TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT OF YOUR CHOICE
B. ZENITH BANK PLC, LONDON UK DEBIT ATM CARD
While we advise you to stop further communication with anybody with effect
from today no matter what the person might claim to be so that you don't lost
your hard earned money to impostors again.
We hereby issue you our code of conduct, which is (811) so you have to
indicate this code when contacting us by using it as your subject because
of your last experience.
Mr. James Williams
Foreign Debt Settlement Committee, UK