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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: Mrs Mariam Felix <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 19:42:44 -0700
Subject: I will be happy if you can assist me ,am an auditor of Africa
Development Bank. (A. D. B)
Request For assistance
I am compelled by my urgent need for a foreign partner that is why I have
personally contacted you for this transaction. I am an auditor by
profession working in Africa Development bank (A.D.B) ,Cotonou Benin
Republic, West Africa.
I have the opportunity of transfering a left over funds (US$10.5M) of one of my
bank clients who died along with his entire family in a plane crash.
Hence,I am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be
transferred out of the bank and shared between us in the ratio of 60% for
me and 40% for you.If you agree to my business proposal,further details of
the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as i receive your return
Mrs Mariam Felix