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:
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million us dollars" (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)
- "million dollars" (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)
- "% commission" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447087696397 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "Edward Hoffman" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:13:11 -0000
I write to you based on a request by an investor and his need for
investment/funding in your country. My name is Edward Hoffman, a
financial consultant with with a reputable financial services firm
here in Syria Damascus, but have moved to london uk due to war.
My company most times represents the interests of very wealthy
investors. Due to the Sensitivity of the position they hold in their
society and the unstable investment Environment of their country, they
evacuate majority of their funds into more stable Economies and
developed nations where they can get good yield for their money.
A reserved Client, whom I had personally worked with a few years ago
with a proposal, recently approached me. What he request is an
individual such as your self, who will be willing to receive money on
his behalf abroad, and put it to good use for a period not exceeding 6
years for a start.
The client has offered these terms:
1.) 5% commission paid to me and my foreign partner of the total funds
successfully Evacuated. The funds in question are about $110 Million
Dollars.(One Hundred and Ten million dollars only.)
2. The funds will be used by the foreign partner for six years as a
loan without any Interest. That is, you do not pay any interest on the
money but you give the client 30% of all profits after tax that
accrued from the use of the funds.
If these terms are agreeable to you, kindly let me know and I will
provide you with
All necessary information and procedures involved. All reply should be
sent to this Email: email@example.com for urgent
attendance.Due to war in my country, we decided to move to London
where we are waiting for good investors. Please contact me on my cell
Address: 2290 Coventry Road
Sheldon Birmingham B26 3PU.United kingdom.
Cell, +447087696397, fax +448435642416