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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Nabila Ibrahim" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Nabila Ibrahim" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:34:46 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: From Mrs. IBRAHIM.
Â Hello Dear,
I am Nabila Ibrahim, widow to late. Mr. Yusuf Mohy Ibrahim from Libya who was killed during the Libya civil war. I and my only child are presently living in Benin Republic at the moment as a refugee. we are residing here in Benin republic, as a result of the civil war that was fought in our country Libya, I have a sum of USUSD$5.3 Million deposited in an offshore financial house and i plead for your help to transfer this money from the present financial house to another bank of your choice in your name for investment in your country, it is the only thing left for me and my child now and I want to start a new life with it. Please this transaction requires immediate attention because of the political situation in our country (Libya) and i do not want to lose this money to the rebels or government. My late husband was a politician and the managing director of a Gold & Mine Ind in Libya before rebels attacked our house and killed him in cold blood.
It is a huge sum of money and I am ready to offer you 35% of the money to stand as the beneficiary and transfer to a new bank account of your choice. I believe you can help me, but on the contrary please forgive my indulgence and delete this e-mail content without sharing with anyone. As i am writing without any other person(s) pre-knowledge of my contacting you on this transaction deal. Therefore i will appreciate same attitude to be maintained by you all through.
If you are interested and able to handle this for me in all honesty without any betrayal of trust that I shall repose on you then contact me for more details. Please note that this transaction is confidential and should be kept in top secret until, we have complete the transfer to your appointed account.
I am waiting to hear from you and May God be with you.
Ms. Nabila Ibrahim.