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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: stephie ngene <email@example.com>
Reply-To: stephie ngene <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 02:47:33 +0900 (JST)
Subject: can i trust you?
Greeting and how are you today.I am Miss Stephie Ngene, the Only
Daughter of the late Micheal Ngene Uzuzu, my father was a gold and cocoa
merchant based in Accra Ghana and Abidjan (Ivory Coast).I have the
intention of investing this sum with your care and supervision in your
country with a percentage that will be negotiated among us.
I know this mail may come to you as a surprise,since we have not known
or written before.And he was poisoned to death by his business
associates on one of their business trips recently. Before his death, he
called me bedside him and told me that he has the sum of $6.500, 000USD
deposited in one of the prime bank here in Abidjan Ivory Coast, that he
used my name being the only Daughter as the next of kin in deposited
If you are willing to cooperate with me let me know so that I will
furnish you with more details on the next step for smooth achievement of
this risk free transaction.For more details and all the legal documents
of the deposited money and my photos.
Miss Stephie Ngene.