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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr.Mohamed Mustafa <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2016 13:42:47 +0200
How are you today? I am Engr. Mohamed Mustafa, the chairperson of the
Contract Award Committee of the OIL AND GAS Industry here in Malaysia.
After due deliberation with my partner, I decided to forward to you this
business proposal that will benefit both of us.
We want you to assist us receive the sum of Ten Million, Six Hundred
Thousand United State Dollars (US$10.6M) cash in your country, which we
have arranged to move out of here to a save place where we can have access
to it and invest the money, the fund is currently at a security company.
This fund resulted from an over-invoiced contract awarded by us under the
budget allocation to the ministry and the bill was approved for payment by
the concerned ministries and was dully paid. The contract was executed,
commissioned and the contractor was paid his actual cost of the contract.
Now, we are left with the balance of US$10.6M as the over invoiced amount,
which we have deliberately over estimated for our own use. Please note
that the law forbids civil servants to operate or own foreign accounts
hence this contact (that is why I contacted you).
We have agreed to share the money in the following percentages: 40 percent
for you, 50 percent for us, and 10 percent for reimbursement of expenses
we may incur during the shipment of the fund to you in your country.
Note that this transaction is very much free from all sorts of risk (100%
risk free) hence the business was carefully planned before it was
successfully executed and we the officials involved in the deal have put
many years in service to our ministry.
Upon indication of your interest to fully co-operate with us and your
readiness to receive this fund from us and keep it save till we come to
your country and share it, you are then required to send to me immediately
the below information for security reasons and onward action towards this
As soon as I receive this required information, I will process the
transaction and direct the security company to immediately ship the fund
to you. But before that, you have to assure me that you are not going to
disappear with the money when it is successfully delivered to you in your
1) Your full contact address where this fund will be delivered to you.
2) Your private telephone numbers.
My partner and I will come over to your country to arrange for our own
share and possibly invest part of the money in a lucrative business in
your country, this is as soon as the fund is successfully shipped to you
and you receive it in your country.
Let honesty and trust be our watchword throughout this transaction.
Your prompt Reply will be highly appreciated.
Engr .Mohamed Mustafa