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:
- 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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "uk national lottery" (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "cashiers check" (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 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "United Nations Assisted Program" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:57:10 +0300
Subject: In response to your Confirm Receipt on Process.
United Nations Assisted Program
Directorate of International Payment
United Nations Liaison Office - Africa
This email is to notify you about the release of your outstanding payment
which is truly $4.7 million. The Federal Government scheduled a time frame
to settle all foreign debts which includes Contract/Inheritance/Gambling/
Lottery (Sponsored by Microsoft and UK National Lottery) and other
international loans. News had it that over the past, numerous
individual(s) who happen to be impostors (claiming to be individuals,
banks and organizations) are claiming to release numerous sums of fund via
You have two options to receive your payment which is either a Pin Based
ATM card or Certified Cashiers Check. You are advised to select one out of
the two options on how you wish to receive your $4.7 million. Your ATM
card or Check/Bank Draft will be shipped via FedEx Shipping Company and
would get to you within 2 to 3 working days at most.
DO NOT SEND MONEY TO ANYONE UNTIL YOU READ THIS:
We had to sign contract with them for bulk shipping which makes the fees
reduce from the actual $125.99 to $96.99 nothing more and no hidden fees
of any sort! You are advised to contact the dispatch officer responsible
for the shipping of your Check or ATM card with the following information
for shipping of your payment Check or ATM card.
Dispatch Officer: Dr.James Don
Mobile: +234 70 3109 2113
And provide him with the following information:
Your full Name...............
Your Current Occupation:....
Preferred Payment Method (Bank Transfer ,Check or ATM):................
The dispatch officer will provide you with instructions on how you are to
make payment of the $96.99 only for the shipping of your ATM card or
Remember that you are not paying any fees extra no matter what. Once again
note that the actual FedEx Retail Price: $125.99 Your Price (Because of
our contract signed): $96.99 ($29.00 Savings!).
Amb. Anthony Moore
UN Envoy (African Region)