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:
- "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)
- "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. )
- 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.
- 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 Ruben Maxwell." <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 11:03:21 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK.
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family?, You may not
understand why this mail came to you.
We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago
with the secretary to the UNITED NATIONS. This email is to all the people that
have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to
compensate them with the sum of US$1.500,000.00 each.
This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their
contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or
international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc.
We found your name and email in our list and that is why we are contacting you,
this have been agreed upon and have been signed.
You are advised to contact Mr. Ruben Maxwell, of our paying center in Benin, as
he is our representative in Republic Benin, contact him immediately for your
cheque worth of USD$1.500,000.00 This funds are in Certified International Bank
Draft for security purpose OK? so he will send it to you and you can cash it in
our bank in your country. Therefore, you should send him your full Name and
telephone number your correct mailing address where you want him to send the
Cheque to you. Contact Mr. Ruben Maxwell, immediately for your Cheque.
Person to Contact: Mr Ruben Maxwell.
Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as
you receive your Cheque. Making the world a better place.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.