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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Brigadier General Luciano Portolano" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 03:29:15 -0800
Subject: Greetings from Afghanistan and thank you for your prayers!
I am Brigadier General Luciano Portolano, a Commandant with International Security Assistance Force(ISAF). Presently in Afghanistan, We really appreciate all your concerns and prayers towards us here. There is an urgent development here that require an urgent assistance and in desperation I had to contact you for the assistance if you don't mind.I got your email contact while I was searching through your country’s guest book.
I and some of my men on duty last Friday discovered some amount of money which we have shared among ourselves and my share of the fund is $32.2million which I have made arrangement on how to move it out of this country.I had this arrangement with a Red Cross Officer who do travel in and out of this embargo.The money I have packaged in a box and it will be delivered to you. I see it as an opportunity that will help both of us hence my resolve to contact you. I want you to keep everything secret and confidential due to the level of my personality and I promise we both will benefit from this in the future as you invest and administer the fund.
We may not have had any personal contact but I believe God has a way of bringing people together to achieve His purpose. You can have a look of my profile to know more about me. And do let me know as soon as possible if it is okay by you for us to proceed.
God bless you.
Brigadier General Luciano Portolano