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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. David Gibbons" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2017 13:53:23 +0000
Subject: Read And Get Back To Me!!
Compliments of the day to you; Firstly, I apologize for sending you this
sensitive information via e-mail instead of a certified post-mail. Well, my
name is Mr. David Gibbons a solicitor and personal finance lawyer based
here in Accra Ghana on contract with the Ghana National Petroleum
Corporation, Oil and Gas. Though I did a lot of web search before choosing
your contact from your country's website and business online register. It
is with trust and sincerity that I approach you for assistance in a
business project for investment purpose in your country.
However, I seek your concept to present you as the foreign executor next of
kin to my deceased client who made a deposit of US$13,000,000.00 (Thirteen
Million United State Dollars only) with a finance firm here, since you are
at an advantage bearing the same last name with my deceased client, so that
the proceeds of the deposit funds valued at US$13,000,000.00 (Thirteen
Million United State Dollars only) to be paid to you and we shall both
share the funds amicably.55% Fifty five percent goes to me while 40% forty
percent will be for you and the remaining 5% will be for any incurred
expenses and for donation to charitable organizations.
So in all faithfulness, I have all the necessary legal documents that will
be used to back up any claim we will make. All I require is your honest
co-operation to enable us to see this project go through and I guarantee
you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement, so if you
are interested and sincere we can proceed further with this transaction
which is hundred percent risk free, please affirm your willingness and let
me know immediately so that I can give you the comprehensive details on how
we proceed further.
I shall be waiting on your reply regarding to this subject.
Thank you and best regards,
Mr. David Gibbons,