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:
- "dear friend" (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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: John Mensah <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2016 02:17:14 -0700
Subject: Good day my dear Friend,
Good day my dear Friend,
I am Mr John Mensah, and i currently work with a bank and will retire
I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of $12,570,000(Twelve
million Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand USD) to the States or any safe
country of your choice, as far as I can be assured that it will be safe in
your care until I complete approval for my retirement plans in another 4
This transaction is 100% genuine and will benefit both of us. I will give
you my full details and transaction plans as soon as i get to trust your
reliability, This is of topmost confidentiality due to my name and
establishment,but at the same time it is not stolen funds,neither is it an
inheritance. Respond to this my privet email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with your below details only if you can partner with me.
Home And Office Address:
Country of Origin:
Valid Scan Identification Card/Drivers License Or international Passport
Thanks and Regards.
Mr John Mensah