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:
- 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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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: "DIANE JONES" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:50:12 -0400
Subject: Attenzione SPAM !!! YOUR FUND
I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting the fund
transferred to a Swiss Account with the cooperation of a new partner
from Paraguay who is an international business man.
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trust worthiness you showed,
I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of
$2,000,000USD (Two million united state dollars) I have
authorized the Finance House where I deposited the money to issue you
international certified bank draft cashable at your bank.
Presently I'm in Paraguay for investment projects with my own share of
the total sum. Meanwhile, I did not forget your past efforts and
attempts to assist me in transferring those funds despite the fact that
it failed us some how.
My dear friend, I will like you to contact the CEO in charge of the
finance house for the collection of this international certified bank
The name of the person with your Cheque is MR. JOSEPH AYALA
COMPENSATION AND FINANCE HOUSE HEAD OFFICE
Ask him to send to you the total $2,000,000USD (Two million united
state dollars) which I kept for your compensation for all the past
and attempts to assist me in this matter.
I appreciated your efforts at that time very much, so feel free and get
in touch with the CEO of the finance house MR.JOSEPH AYALA and
instructed on to send the amount to you.
Please do let me know immediately you receive it so that we can share
the joy after all the suffering at that time.
At the moment, I am very busy here because of the investment projects
which I and the new partner are having at hand. Remember that I had
forwarded instruction to to the CEO of the finance house on your
behalf to receive that money, so get in touch with him and he will send
the amount to you without delay.
Finally, my sincere advice to you as a christian is that you should
endeavour to pay your tithe to a bible believing church when you get