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:
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MISS.AYESHA GADDAFI" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 02:31:40 -0800
Subject: RE:WITH ALL DUE RESPECT..
Dear, I Need Your Urgent Help,
I am Miss.Ayesha Gaddafi , daughter of embattled Libyan Ex-leader Late
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who was embattled by the unfaithful
opposition leaders in my country. Following the heat as a result of
the crises in Libya against my Father, Late Col. Muommar Gaddafi, I
have been able to escape to a Neighboring country, OMAN to save my
live. I am desperately looking for a foreign reliable partner whom I
can trust to handle some funds on our behalf.
A deposit was made one time ago by my Late Father in one of the
Financial Institution in Athens Greece in my name. The UN and the
Western world have frozen most of our assets and funds bearing
Gaddafi's name anywhere in the world.
Consequently, our status/position of the present state does not permit
us to open an account or run any huge financial business at the
moment; hence I contacted you to claim the funds. The necessary Legal
documents will be changed to your name to enable the release of the
funds to you.
your assistance will enable us invest the funds in your country. But
before we proceed you will promise me that you will not betray or
abscond with the funds when it eventually released to you.
I will furnish with more info as soon as I hear your response
indicating your interest to partner with me. At present I don't
receive or make calls for security reason (s) as it is being
monitored. All communication is based on internet. Waiting for your
prompt and positive response.