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:
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- ",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)
- "my direct telephone number" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS.GRACE LAURENT" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 17:11:54 +0200
Subject: GREETINGS FROM MRS.GRACE LAURENT CALL TEL: +27835485068
FROM: MRS. GRACE LAURENT
TEL: +27 835485068
I am Mrs Grace Laurent, the wife of late Mr Simon Laurent an Engineer based here in Southern Africa. My husband Mr Simon Laurent died in a car accident I was married with my late husband for many years without a child. My Husband made a fixed deposit with Ned Bank of South Africa the sum of [US$18,500,000.00 Million United States Dollars Only].
Presently, I am very sick as I told my family doctor that I have Cancer of blood I have few months to live on this earth. Please I want you to call me immediately you receive this letter on my telephone number as I have decided to donate this fund to any sincere person for these purposes as follow;
1: To set up a cancer centre to assist victims of it.
2: For the sick, less-privileged and destitute.
3: For the Widows and orphans.
These are the wishes of a dying widow. As the only survival of Laurent family this are the desires of my heart, hence my decision as I do not have a child to take over my inheritance as I want you to Stand-in for inheritance fund for the building of cancer foundation in your country with his fund as the new beneficiary and collect the Funds from the Bank for its purposes do contact me on my direct telephone number +27 835485068 urgently, all documents related to this fund are with me in safety keeping.
MRS. GRACE LAURENT