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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "necessary legal documents" (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 state 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)
- "% will be for you" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: elliot delsjon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:35:53 +0100
Subject: Dear Friend, Kindly reply me urgent/call me.
Dear Friend, Kindly reply me urgent/call me.
Compliments of the day to you. Firstly, I apologize for sending you
this sensitive information via e-mail instead of a certified
post-mail. Well my name is Mr. Elliot Delsjon, a private lawyer based
here in Ghana. I did a lot of web search before choosing your contact
from your country's website and business online register. It is with
trust and sincerity that I approach you for assistance in a business
I seek your concept to present you as the executor/next of kin to my
deceased client who made a deposit of Nineteen Million United State
Dollars only (US$19,000,000.00) with a Finance House here few years
back since you are at an advantage, bearing the same last name so that
the proceeds of the deposit funds valued at Nineteen Million United
State Dollars can be paid to you and we shall both share the funds
amicably. 55% goes to me while 40% will be for you and the remaining
5% will be for any incurred expenses and for donation to charitable
I have all the necessary legal documents that will be used to back up
any claim we will make. All I require is your honest co-operation to
enable us see this project through. I guarantee that this will be
executed under a legitimate arrangement, so if you are interested and
sincere we can proceed further with this transaction which is hundred
percent risk free, please do let me know immediately so that I can
give you comprehensive details on how we proceed.
Thanks & best regards.
Mr. Elliot Delsjon