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:
- 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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Michael Wilson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2016 05:02:26 -0700
Subject: HI DEAR
AM MICHAEL WILSON WORKING WITH THE FOREIGN OPERATION DEPT OF CITY NATIONAL BANK CALIFORNIA, GET BACK TO ME AS SOON YOU RECEIVE THIS MAIL.
I HAVE TO TAKE THIS UPON MYSELF CONFIDING TO YOU ABOUT AN ALLOCATED FUNDS OF $500.000.00 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) APPROVED FOR PAYMENT TRANSMISSION IN YOUR FAVOR BY THE UNITED NATION / IMF AS COMPENSATION FOR CABER CAFE SCAM VICTIMS RELIEF PROGRAM WHICH YOU WERE LISTED ALONG SIDE WITH FIVE OTHERS BENEFICIARIES. THE PAYMENT IS PRESENTLY WITH OUR CORRESPONDENT BANK IN EUROPE, PROGRAMMED FOR WIRE TRANSMISSION.
TO MY GREATEST SURPRISED I NOTICED THAT SOMEONE IS TRYING TO DIVERT YOUR PAYMENT BY PRESENTING AN ACCOUNT THAT DOES NOT BEAR YOUR NAME AS THE BENEFICIARY TO THE OFFICE OF THE FINANCIAL DEPARTMENT OF THIS MY BANK, CLAIMING THAT YOU AUTHORIZED HER TO DO SO ON YOUR BEHALF, KNOWING TOO WELL THAT YOU ARE NOT YET AWARE OF THIS PAYMENT APPROVAL.
I CAME TO KNOW OF THIS WHEN THE PAYING BANK RECENTLY COMMUNICATED MY DEPARTMENT FOR ACCOUNT RECONFIRMATION FROM BENEFICIARY OF THE PAYMENT.
DO GET BACK TO AS SOON YOU RECEIVE THIS MAIL VIA THIS EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org OR CALL ME VIA MY PRIVATE DIRECT PHONE LINE STATED BELOW.
GET BACK TO ME IMMEDIATELY AS I AWAIT FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE.
TEL: 1 803 619 6542.