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:
- "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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Paul Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2014 06:43:24 -0700
Subject: GET BACK TO THIS OFFICE
After going through your online profile, It is our great pleasure
contacting you today for an assistance. My colleagues and I in the
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have TWENTY ONE MILLION FIVE
HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS (US$21.5M), that we urgently
want to invest in your name and control in your country. It is
unlawful in our country for civil servants to operate foreign
investment,we therefore request for your kind assistance in the joint
If you are interested in our business proposal and you guarantee our
safety, hence, provide us with four good and profitable business ideas
obtainable in your country for quick consideration. Do you need
further details, contact me immediately?
NOTE: YOUR SHARE OF THE FUNDS IS %25, WHILE YOU WILL INVEST THE
BALANCE FUNDS FOR us.But we strictly advise that you treat this matter
as "HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL" since we are still in active service.
GM, Finance NAPIMS
& Acting GGM, Audit