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:
- 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:
- "hundred thousand american 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)
- "is highly confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "god-fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Charles" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2016 22:16:02 -0400
Subject: FROM CHARLES
It is a pleasure to introduce to you a business that will make the beginning of never-ending family relationship and i hope this proposal will not be an inconvenience or embarrassment to you.I am Mr Charles Philip the only son of late Mr Philip Talaku who was a famous cocoa merchant,My late father operated his cocoa business in Nigeria under partnership but unfortunately his business associates poisoned him in-order to claim his wealth in a cocktail party held in his honor as the director of the company.When he was poisoned he was rushed to the hospital,it was in the hospital that he secretly disclosed to me the cause of the sickness and also that he deposited the sum of $4.8m (Four Million Eight Hundred Thousand American Dollars Only) in a suspense account to a bank here in Nigeria and that i was made the next of kin to inherit the money in his record/file.
He therefore advised me to look for a reliable,trust worthy and God-fearing person who will assist me to transfer this funds abroad strictly for a good investment purposes,this is because he did not want his associates to raise an eyebrow on his funds.He also advised me to avoid his associates who will be running after my dear life,he finally died in the hospital after two days of admission.I am soliciting for your assistance to transfer the $4.8m into your account for an investment purposes in your country.I hope to travel with you to your country after a successful transfer of this funds.the contact of the bank will be given to you as soon as you show your interest and willingness to me.You can now instruct them on where and how the money will be transferred.I am offering you 10% of the total sum of $4.800.000.00 as commission for your assistance to the transfer of this funds into your country.May i strongly re-emphasize that this transaction is highly confidential and hitch free.
Thanks for your anticipated co-operation.
Mr Charles Philip.