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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Mary Louis" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 16:35:18 +0100
Subject: Greetings in the name of God,
Greetings in the name of God,Please let this not sound
strange to you for my only surviving lawyer who would have
done this died early this year.
I prayed and got your email id from your country guestbook.
I am Mrs Mary Louis from London,I am 58 years old,i am
suffering from a long time cancer of the lungs which also
affected my brain.From all indication my conditions is
really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that, according
to my doctors they have advised me that i may not live for
the next two months,this is because the cancer stage has
gotten to a very bad stage.
I was brought up from a motherless babies home was married
to my late husband for twenty years without a child,my
husband died in a fatal motor accident Before his death we
were true believers.Since his death I decided not to
re-marry,I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited
all the sum of 10million dollars with a Bank.
Presently, this money is still with the bank and the
management just wrote me to come forward and claim my money
because they have kept it for so long or rather issue a
letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my
behalf since I can not come over because of my illness or
they get it confiscated.
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital here in
Switzerland where I have been undergoing treatment for
cancer of the lungs. My doctors have told me that I have
only a few months to live.It is my last wish to see that
this money is invested to any organization of your choice
and distributed each year among the charity organization,the
the motherless babies home.
I want you as God fearing person, to also use this money to
fund church,mosque, orphanages and widows,I took this
decision, before i rest in peace because my time will soon
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact
of the Bank.I will also issue you a letter of authority that
will prove you as the new beneficiary of my fund.
Provide me with your information so i can send it to the
bank as the new beneficiary and issue you a letter of
FULL NAMES:__________SEX: _____ AGE: ______MARITAL
CONTACT ADDRESS: ________________________PHONE
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated
herein.Hoping to hear from you soon.
Your Friend In Christ,
Mrs Mary Louis