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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Mikes Andre" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:18:24 +0200
Subject: GOOD DAY
Republic of Benin
My name is Mikes Aandre, Manager Auditing and account section of the
bank, I discovered a dormant account during our annual auditing
exercise in my office,that belonging to late Engr. Amber Wood a
National of your country, and my further investigation revealed that
this account has not been operated on for quite a long time. It will
be in my interest to transfer this fund worth $39.000.000 million into
an account offshore,
I have all the plans safely worked out and will need the co-operation
of a foreign partner in order to successfully make this transfer, If
you can assist in getting the money transferred, contact me
immediately so that I can give you more details.
Remember this is absolutely confidential, do also provide me with your
full name and address, Mobile Phone Lines,Nationality,Age And
Regards and respect,
Mr Mikes Aandre
Manager Audit/Account sec FBB