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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "a security company " (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 us 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)
- "million 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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Ryan Lord <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2014 03:16:08 +0100
Subject: Seeking your cooperation
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I Know everyone will die someday.My name is Ryan Lord, a merchant in Dubai, in the U.A.E.
I have been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer which was discovered very late, due to my laxity in carrying for my health. It has defiled all forms of medicine,and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone not even myself but my business.
Though I am a wealthy man, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focus on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.
I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it.Now that God ! has called me, I have willed and given most of my properties and assets to my immediate and extended family members and as well as a few close friends.
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul and so, I have decided to give arms to charity organizations and give secured and comfort to the less privileged in our societies, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth.So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Algeria and Malaysia.
Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization and to the less privileged in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to themselves.
Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them.The last of my money which no one knows of, is the huge cash deposit of Twenty Nine million US dollars($29,000,000.00) that I have with a Security Company in Europe for safe keeping.
I will want you to help me collect this deposit and disburse it to some charity organizations and to the less privileged.
Please send me a mail to indicate if you will assist me in this disbursement.You will take 20% of the Twenty Nine million dollars for your time and assistance in realizing this transaction.While I await to hear from you,may God be with you and your entire family.