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:
- 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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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 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: "NATWEST BANK LONDON" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 19:37:24 -0000
Subject: RE: INSTRUCTIONS TO CREDIT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT WITH US$12, 500,000.00
>From the Desk of Mrs. Sarah Mills
GB - 98 St. Paul's Churchyard EC4M 8BU
London, United Kingdom
RE: INSTRUCTIONS TO CREDIT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT WITH US$12, 500,000.00
The management of the Natwest Bank United Kingdom writes to inform you of your long over due payment that has been lying wait in the treasury department of the Natwest Bank for payment.
With regards to the approval of your Approval of this payment as confirmed by the Legal Department of the Natwest Bank United Kingdom; you are hereby directed to contact Mr. Paul Lewis for immediate payment as your payment officer with the contact information below:
Contact Person: Lewis Paul
Tel + 44 7928665063
Be further informed that the management of Natwest Bank has authorized Mr. Paul Lewis to wire your funds without any delay as soon as you provide him with the following information:
You are therefore authorized to reconfirm to the telex department of the Natwest Bank United Kingdom your complete Personal Information? and Account Information? to enable us carry out your transfer accordingly.
Contact our office as soon as possible on email or contact Paul Lewis for more details on your transfer.
Thank you, for your understand and patience.
Mrs. Sarah Mills
Chief executive officer,