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.
- 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:
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "certified bank draft" (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 "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: George <email@example.com>
Reply-To: George <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:11:03 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Hello .
Â Hello .
I am very glad to inform you about my success in getting those funds transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from England. Presently I am in England for investment Projects with my own share of the total
sum but we have a little problem with the British Government as they mandated that we must pay all the taxes up front before the fund will be cleared in my new partners account which we have been trying to raise
the fund to due the amount mentioned by the British Government.
Meanwhile, for this reason I could not be able to make any cash transfer to your nominated bank account as a compensation for your intended to assist me get those fund transferred, so I have instructed my bank
manager to issue a certified bank draft of $2 Million in your name, because I did not forget your past efforts and attempt to assist me in transferring those funds despite the fact that we did not come to the conclusion of
Nevertheless, you should contact my protocol officer,Â Mr. Erik Francisco Lugo.Â on his Email:Â email@example.com
Get in touched with my protocol officer Mr. Erik and instruct him where to send the amount to you and also include your private address and telephone number.Â I had Forwarded instruction to my protocol officer on
your behalf to receive that money, so feel free to get in Touch with Mr. Erik, he will send the amount to you with out any delay.