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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "HAJIA HALIMA" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:08:48 -0700
Subject: PLEASE KINDLY ASSIST ME SAVE A SOUL.
My dear Hope,
Here writes Hajia Halima with my laptop from my hospital bed suffering from cancer of the breast. I am married to late Farouk Hamza who was an oil magnet and into estate management before his demise in a ghastly motor accident. Our marriage lasted for three decades without a child but we made a vow to uplift the lives of the down-trodden, less privileged, orphans and physically challenged individuals.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of (US$18.4M) eighteen million four hundred thousand United States dollars in a Security Finance Company which he derived from his vast estate and oil business. Presently this money is still with the Security Finance Company. My husbands relatives have abandoned me because of greed only waiting for me to die for them to loot and lay claims on my husbands hard earned money. I am now in a hopeless situation as my condition of health has failed me and recently my Doctor informed me in confidence that I have limited time to live hence I took the decision to transfer this money through diplomatic expertise outside the shores of this country for safety thereby making this contact with you for your assistance.
To this effect my primary hope and prayer is to leave this country eventually if I survive so that you help me invest this money on profitable ventures but if I die unfortunately I would therefore need your assistance to use part of this deposit as it gets to you to share amongst the orphanage/motherless homes, less privileges and charity organizations.
As soon as I get your reply I will forward you the contact details of my lawyer whom I have handed over all documents related to this deposit who will handle this transaction with you. At the moment I am still confined and bed ridden in the hospital finding it so hard to communicate and hear clearly on phone due to severe pains and deteriorating health condition so do bear with me. I will also issue you with a power of attorney, change of name and ownership certificate and an authority letter empowering you as the legitimate and rightful beneficiary of the funds but you will assure me that you will justify the confidence reposed in you, that you will not seat on the funds for your own interest only as the fund gets to you and also assure me of your honesty, trustworthiness and your capability to handle these funds of such magnitude.
On this note therefore you are advised to contact me on this email address firstname.lastname@example.org feel free to ask questions for more clarifications while keeping this a top secret and utmost confidentiality and while waiting for your urgent response I look forward to your anticipated cooperation and understanding. May the Almighty God and Allah guide, protect and bless you.