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:
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "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)
- "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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Senator Olubukola A. Saraki" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 2 May 2016 01:48:26 -0600
Subject: Re: Your unpaid funds!!!
This is to notify you of your unpaid funds with reference Number:
AV/FGN/MIN/0016. We Apologies for the delay of your payment, the
Inconveniences and Inflict that the delay might have indulge you through.
You are also to note that we have been mandated and instructed by the UN,
IMF, the American government and other world financial power based on the
meeting held that we should immediately verify all this and carryout all
payments without further delay to avoid any embarrassment this might
course yourself and us.
>From the Records of outstanding payment with the federal government of
Nigeria, your name was discovered amongst the outstanding who have not yet
received their payments. I wish to inform you now that the square peg is
now in square hole, and can be voguish for that your payment is being
processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this
letter. Also note that from my record in my file your outstanding contract
payment is US$10,500,000.00 million dollars.
However, where having some serious problems with your payment which have
demoralized us, In respect to this payment, one Mr. James Banks submitted
an application that you authorized your funds to be paid to him on your
behalf with a report that you are now paralyzed as a result of the ghastly
motor accident you had some months back and we would like to confirm the
(1) Did you at any time delegate anybody not even from your family to
claim your fund on your behalf?
(2) Were you involved in a motor accident?
(3) Are you aware or related to one Mr. James Banks? Or neither issued him
any Power of Attorney nor signed any Deed of Agreement?
Kindly confirm to me if you truly authorized this act or not as I sense
that your funds are been diverted.
Be also informed that your payment will be effected to you via direct bank
transfer or bank draft as you are to choose how you wish to receive it.
You are highly required to get back to me a.s.a.p to this email
email@example.com and please include your phone number in your
Senator Olubukola A. Saraki