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 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "can i trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Sgt. Michael Dickey" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 12:55:22 -0700
Subject: Very Urgent
My name is Mike Dickey, I am an American soldier from 4th Infantry Brigade
Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, currently deployed in Afghanistan. My
reason for contacting you is that I managed to move funds belonging to some
Afghanistan's heads that ran away after we rescued the hostages. We released
under the blasphemy laws while awaiting sentence and there are forced sex
acts and killing by the Afghanistan terrorist, as I discovered. In their
hideout, I found an underground with currencies. I know that ready for use,
you may condemn my deeds but sincerely, I have served as US army in good
faith, stealing nothing from my division either have I been involved in any
I only manage to move the total amount of US$11,500,000 Million Dollars in
cash. However, I want to move this money US$11,500,000 to you ( Note is in
$100 Dollars Bills denomination), so that you will invest it for me and keep
my share for banking. I know you will be asking how did I got your email, it
is through my effort to search for a reputable person which my heart is
directing me to trust since I am in a war zone and I have no much time. I
want you to understand that I have seen money in Afghanistan even US
contractors have wasted lots of hard-earned money over here.
If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a
good partner that I can trust and that will assist me. Can I trust you? When
you receive this letter and I am willing to go into an agreement with you,
that i will offer you 35% from the said amount and 5% will be meant for
miscellaneous and the balance 60% would be for a lucrative business for me
which you will manage. Kindly send me an email signifying your interest
including your most confidential mobile telephone number for quick
communication also your contact details, if necessary. Respond to my
personal email: email@example.com
Note this is 100% legal as there is no holder for the funds and I assure you
the delivery will be safe and 100% risk free.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
With Responds and Salutation.
Sgt. Michael Dickey.