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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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: OFFICAL MASSAGE. <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2016 21:31:15 +0700
Subject: Dear Friend
Compliments of the day and God's blessings
I am glad to inform you that I have successfully concluded the transaction, the money transferred to Dubai UAE. It was transferred through the assistant of your country man Mr. Howard Ferraro who is a Dubai base business man. Currently I am in London with him, my wife and children.
However, I did not forget you because you are the source of my success, you made me what I am now though you are not there to complete this project with me but I gave all the credit and thanks to you. I know it was not your fault or rather your wish to back up on me and the transaction, I understood it was simply because of what you must have heard about my continent and her business opportunities. Actually there are still good ones for example myself.
In appreciate of your assistance I have mapped out as a compensation and wrote on your favor a Draft worth of US$5,000,000.00.(Five Million United States Dollars Only) I left the Draft with my attorney Sir.Kepe Emmanuel on my departure to Dubai. I would like you therefore, to contact him on the below info so that he can mail it to you.
Attn: Sir. Kepe Emmanuel
Contact my attorney so that he can release your Draft to you. I will stop here. Once again, thank you very much and remain blessed.