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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million 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)
- "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)
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: mary clayton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 23:16:02 +0100
Subject: GOOD NEWS, YOUR COMPENSATION
How are you doing.
I hope my email will reach you in good health.
I guess you will still remember me.
I am Mrs Mary Clayton,the former Bank Manager WEMA Bank Nigeria PLC.
I contacted you some time ago when I was a bank manager about a deal I have
in the bank but you refused to carry out the deal with me.
You told me that you do not know if I am a scamer and this made me to
withdrew from you out of anger and feeling of insult on my person.
I finally concluded with someone that understood me better.
I was very successful with my new partner and she received the money valued
US$15 Million United States Dollars on my behalf.
I have shared this money with my new partner according to our agreed
I am now in London,United Kingdom doing investment.
However,I did not forget you and have decided to compensate you with the
sum of Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars(US$500,000.00)
I did not blame you for not doing the deal with me as at that time
because of much internet scam going on all over the world.
I have instructed my Lawyer in Nigeria to send you a Certified Bank Cheque
valued US$500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) as a
You should forward the following to my Lawyer for the delivery of the
Certified Cheque to you:
*YOUR FULL NAMES:*
*BELOW IS THE CONTACT INFORMATION OF MY LAWYER YOU WILL CONTACT FOR YOUR
CERTIFIED BANK CHEQUE:*
*NAME: BARRISTER PAUL ROBERT*
*ADDRESS: P.R LAW CHAMBER, 228 AIRPORT ROAD,,ABUJA NIGERIA*
*EMAIL: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>*
*TEL: +234 805 459 7886 <%2B234%20807%20752%200704>*
Once you contact my lawyer,he will take your Certified Cheque to the
issuing bank and it will be stamped and sealed and then deliver to you
Do let me know once you contact my lawyer and when you receive your
Please do accept the little token from me.
The above is my address if you want to verify or visit me.
MRS MARY CLAYTON