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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Datti Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 09:09:21 -0800
Subject: RECEIVED YOUR FUND OF $2,000,000.00
- This mail is in HTML. Some elements may be ommited in plain text. -
Please accept my apology for not contacting you earlier before now due to my tight schedules. I did not forgot your past effort and attempts to assist me,now I'm happy to inform you that I have succeeded in getting those Funds transferred Under the co-operation of a new partner from Japan.
Meanwhile, I did not forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me in that Process despite that it failed us at that time, due to no trust. Now,I want you To contact my secretary, his name is Mr. Tom Bello and his email address is (
), Arrange with him on how the total sum of two MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS ($2,000,000,00USD) will reach you safely which I have Already kept for your compensation for all the past efforts and attempts to Assist me in this matter. I appreciated your efforts at that time very much.
Please send the below information to him to enable him get back to you immediately.
(1) FULL NAMES AND YOUR CONTACT ADDRESS....
(2)YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS....
(4) YOUR OCCUPATION AND YOUR AGE....
Barrister Datti Williams (esq.)