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:
- 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:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Annabelle Lazaro" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 01 Jul 2016 16:35:15 +0100
Subject: I only pray that your email address is still valid.
Hello My Dear,
I deemed it fit to apologize for contacting you without permission. I
was left with no choice than to contact you immediately because this
information is very Urgent. You will agree with me that experience is
the best teacher as we say. I had lot of hurtful experiences from
internet fradusters that sent me so many mails each day telling me to
claim Funds, i fell for this trap and lost my hard earned money to this
fraudsters. I will never forgive those fraudsters who ripped me of my
I am pleased to inform you that a western Union agent advised me to
contact the Real Organization that helped me with the claim of funds, my
funds was released to me with the legitimate process. I will have to
enjoy the rest of my life and family with this Money, Am resigning my
job because there is no reason to keep working when have received my
funds. Now you will be surprised how i got to know you, I went to the
Organization to sign and approve the Release of my Funds and saw your
name, e-mail address among the Beneficiaries of this Funds who is yet to
receive their funds and felt very sorry for those contacts because i
know they might have been ripped by those fraudsters who send bogus
messages to be officials. I copied your contact and some few other email
address, this is why am contacting you today.
If you have received anymail asking you to make any illegal form of
payment to get your Funds which those not come from this Legal Office, I
advice you to ignore such mail now and contact the Legal Practitioner
below in-charge of the Release of your Funds. If you can contact him
now, he is going to process your Funds Papers immediately and you will
have your Funds released to you within the next 48-72hours but you will
be required to pay for the Release Paper scheme that will cost you the
amount of 367USD. You are adviced to provide your information to prove
that you are the real owner and Beneficiary of these Funds. You can
contact Barrister Almond Castle through e-mail as stated below:
Name : Barrister Almond Castle
Email Address: email@example.com
My Dear, Be reminded that the only Fee you need to pay is just 367USD
which is for the legal papers. I hope have been able to help and prevent
you from been a victim of scam to those wicked people.
Mrs. Annabelle Lazaro