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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "a security company " (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 us 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)
- "await your urgent response" (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 next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +447031980209 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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 (Publicist; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- *(solicitors & advocates)* *reply using email:sm firstname.lastname@example.org * (Publicist; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- *reply using email:sm firstname.lastname@example.org * phone:+447031980209 *dear (Publicist; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Robert Smith <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2014 11:12:49 +0700
Subject: FROM ROBERT SMITH
*Robert Smith & Associates*
*(Solicitors & Advocates)*
*Reply using Email:sm <Email%3Asmithlaws@publicist.com>firstname.lastname@example.org
*I am contacting you to use you to recover out this fund from the
Security company here and invest it in your company front lining you to the
company as a co business partner of my Late Depositor.*
*My late client Late Mr. Iman AL. Hilali who is from the oil rich Libyan
country was a private oil consultant/ contractor with shell Oil & Gas
Development Company in Tripoli before he died as the result of that crisis
and war that happened in Libya with all members of his family in April 20th
2011 when the then Pro Gaddafi Forces attacked his family home in Misrata*
*Before his death,he deposited the sum of USD$16.8m.(Sixteen million Eight
hundred thousand US dollars)being resources made from his oil deals with a
security company name withheld for security reasons.*
*Since his death, none of his relatives or associates have come forward to
lay claims to his funds as next-of-kin,as his wife whom he made his next of
kin died along with him.*
*Based on the ethics and policies of the security company,the funds which
is deposited as x ray photographic materials might be confiscated if no
body comes to claim it as the security company does not know that its
original content of the bus is cash in USD$ DOLLAR BILLS OF $100 carefully
parked and seal in the vault box before depositing it to the Security
*I now seek your permission and assistance to present you and have you
stand as a next of kin to the deceased,so that the BOX containing the money
can be released and shipped to your home country under a diplomatic cover
to you, as all documentations will be carefully worked out by me for it to
be released in your favor as the **beneficiary's next of kin for our joint
investment in your country.*
*Note the following points;*
*The transaction is 100% risk free as security company Management knows
very well that I am the attorney to the late CYZ BOX depositor when he was
*NOTE: The Security Company does not know that the ORIGINAL contents of the
box marked with inscription CYZ 640 is money in $100/100 bills*
*The money however, will be divided into 3 parts, you will take 45% of the
$16.8m, myself 50%, while 5% is set aside to offset any expenses we may
individually en cure during the collection process.*
*That I will invest part of my share in your company while the rest will be
used to help the less privileged home, e.g.motherless homes, handicapped
homes as this are my reasons why I did not allow the security company
Directors to mess up my clients money while there are poor people in the
society who needs help, I have decided within me,to open a Charitable
Organization in Memory of my late client.*
*Please furnish me with the following information if you are interested .*
*1. Your Complete Names/ Address, in order for me to prepare the document
for recovery of the package in **your name.*
*2. Direct Telephone and fax numbers...For our personal contact and for
*communication between both of us.*
*I await your urgent response.*
*Robert Smith Esq*
*Attorney at law*