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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: SANCHEZ BRUCE <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 14:45:12 -0300
Subject: STRICKLY CONFIDENTIAL
Greetings Dear friend!
How are you doing today together with your family hope you all are
doing well by the grace of God? Dear friend i hope that you will not
expose or betray this trust that I am about to impose on you. I
decided to contact you to help me actualize this business for our
benefit. My name is Sanchez Bruce, the Auditing and Accounting section
manager in Bank section, there is one of our customers who have made
fixed deposit of sum of (US$9.2)million for 9 years and upon maturity;
I sent the notification to his address, but no response. After few
months, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his business
partner that he died after a brief illness in his country. We tried
everything humanly possible to locate his relatives or family, but all
efforts failed. The deposit is still intact with my bank and the
interest is being paid into the principal sum at the end of each year.
The bank agrees recently that if the fund remains in the account for
more months, it will be confiscated and transferred into the
Government treasury as unclaimed funds based on the law. Hence my
contact you for join hands with honesty and truth to ensure that the
fund is transferred into your bank account and a bank account in
anywhere in the world can help the transfer. All that will be required
of you is to contact my bank with the information I will send you as
the next of kin or a business associate of the depositor and the fund
will be paid into a bank account you will provide. To be honest with
you, this is totally legal and 100% risk free.
But the secret must remain between you and me, I have worked with this
bank for many years and I know all the secrets and I have carefully
mapped out my perfect strategies to handle this operation
successfully. The depositor is my close friend before his death that
is the main reason why I know much about the existence of this fund
and the depositor. We will also use some part of the funds to help the
orphanage and less privileged children in the world.
I promise you that i will take care of everything here in my country
before the money goes into your account
If this proposal is acceptable to you, kindly email your following
information to me:
a. Full Name(s)
b. Direct phone & fax number(s)
c. Your direct email & any other information you may deem helpful.
d. Your occupation
More details will be given to you as soon as you reply to my email (
TEL: +229 98629795