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)
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: Edward Evers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Edward Evers <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:45:11 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Message From:Edward Evers((REPLY URGENTLY))
Â From:Edward Evers
You may be surprised to receive this letter from me since you do not know me in person the purpose of my introduction is that,I am Edward Evers a citizen of Zimbabwe,but I am writing from South Africa.
I am the only son of Mr.Lube Evers,Before the death of my father,he had taken me to Johannesburg to deposit the sum of US$20,500,000.00 (TWENTY MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) in one of the private security company, This money was deposited in a box as germ stones to avoid much demurrage from Security Company.This amount was meant for the purchase of new machines and chemicals for the farms and established of new farm in Swaziland.
Here,is my reasons for contacting you,I am seeking a genuine foreign account where this money could be transferred,I must let you know that this transaction is 100% risk free.If you accept to assist me and my family all I want you to do for me is to make arrangements and come to Johannesburg South Africa as soon as possible.I intend to use this money for investment.
I have two options for you,firstly you can choose to have certain percentage of the money for nominating your account for this transaction.Or you can go into partnership with me for the proper profitable investment of the money in your country.
Whichever the options you want,feel free to notify me,I am looking forward to receive your urgent reply and Call me as soon as you receive this letter for further discussion.Please reply me through my private email address(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you and God bless you as you read to assist me.
(For the family)