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 beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Theresa Spratling" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:08:40 +0200
Subject: Information Request
I am Mrs. Spratling, i know that there is absolutely going to be a great doubt and distrust in your heart in respect of this email, coupled with the fact that, so many individuals have taken possession of the Internet to facilitate their nefarious deeds, thereby making it extremely difficult for genuine and legitimate business class persons to get attention and recognition. There is no way for me to know whether I will be properly understood, but it is my duty to write and reach out to you.Grace.
I would like you to inform you that i have a proposal of a Righteous Project that involves Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars that belonged to my late husband as you would be receiving 15% of the total funds.
Note : All that is required of you after the funds have been successfully transferred into your account, you are to I vest the remaining 85% on Charity Foundation based on my instructions as I have decided to make peace and depart from the world as I have a deadly cancer of the breast which has been chronic for I have not been able to pay the fees for my Chemotherapy operation because the Lawyer that was entrusted with my Late Husband Estate, also made away with all our funds except the TRUST FUND leaving me in the Hospital for three years now and it is almost the end of it all but I want this as my last wish that the funds are inherited to Someone who will do the work of a Righteous Christian to fulfill my last wish before I answer the call of my Father.
I would like a response from you to know if you are willing and ready to invest on the inheritance of the funds and used for the growth of the Christian nation by providing the details below:
Direct Telephone Line:
On receipt of the confirmation email on the investment and the details above, I would go into details of the documentation and the security home where the funds are kept.