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:
- ",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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447087642496 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "STEPHANIE EDWARDS" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 18 May 2016 00:22:13 +0100
Subject: My dying wish
Compliments of day to you.
My name is Mrs Stephanie Edwards. I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to you. I am 62 years old and diagnosed of cancer about 2 years ago. I lost my husband and I was left alone, I have no family and I will be going for surgery shortly and I pray that I survive, but the chances are slim.
I have decided to Will/donate the sum of $1,500,000.00 (One Million, Five Hundred thousand dollars) to you for the good work of charity. I got your contact from a random online search, as led by my spirit. I cannot use this money for myself when I am gone; one with a good moral stand and charitable heart should use it. I believe my spirit has led me right, I wanted someone anonymous to gain this money. I have been a very lonely woman, do help me put joy in other peoples lives.
Presently, I have informed my lawyer about my decision to will this money to you. Kindly Contact my lawyer whose contact I place below, to carry out this task of charity. Please, it is my dying wish.
Manfred Engstler Esq.
Tel : +447087642496
Thank you and God bless you.
Mrs Stephanie Edwards