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:
- "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)
- ",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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- 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: Lulu Gwagwa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 11 May 2014 14:46:21 +0200
Subject: I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU!
From Mr. Lulu Gwagwa
I personally discovered a dormant account with a total sum of
USD$40,000,000.00 [Forty Million United States Dollars Only] belonging
to my late client "John Shumejda" during the financial company annual
The owner of this dormant account is a foreigner "John Shumejda" by
name? Who died on January 5, 2000, in a plane crash in Birmingham; since
the death of the deceased, nobody has operated this account till date.
Moreover, this account has no BENEFICIARY attached to it. Definitely,
the FINANCE COMPANY CODE OF ETHICS will be liable to confiscate this
fund if it remains dormant for period of  years without any claims.
This year will make it the 14th year.
In this regard, I earnestly need your full cooperation in transferring
these dormant funds out from the Finance Company where the total valued
sum of USD$40,000,000.00 is being deposited, to avoid confiscating this
fund. If you are willing to work with me I would like you to get back to
me for further directives.
P.S. You will get 40% of the total money for your co-operation and for
personal reasons i will keep other details until we establish
acquaintance, call or sms me at mobile: +27-83-974-0773
Mr. Lulu Gwagwa (FCAA)