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:
- ",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)
- 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.
- +447031981654 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "Johnson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2013 21:28:24 -0700
Subject: My dying wish
How are you today?,
My name is Mrs Deborah Johnson. I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to you. I am 59 years old and diagnosed of cancer about 2 years ago. I lost my husband and I was left alone, I have no family and I will be going for an operation shortly and I pray that I survive, but the chances are slim.
I have decided to Will/donate the sum of $1,500,000.00 (One Million, Five Hundred thousand dollars) to you for the good work of the lord. I got your contact from a random online search, as led by my spirit. I believe God has his plan as I cannot use this money for myself when I am gone; one with a good moral stand and charitable heart should use it. I believe my spirit has led me right, I wanted someone anonymous to gain this money. I have been a
very lonely woman, do help me put joy in other peoples lives.
Presently, I have informed my lawyer about my decision to will this money to you. Kindly Contact my lawyer whose contact I place below, to carry out this task of charity. Please, it is my dying wish.
Brian Betts esq.
Tel : +447031981654
Thank you and God bless you.
Mrs Deborah Johnson