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:
- "trunk box" (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)
- "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)
- "% commission" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Heba Hassan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:28:56 +0200
Dear , I am Mrs. Heba Hassan the wife of Engr Ahamd Hassan a Syrian Industr=
ialist and member of a Syrian businessman in council Damascus. After the de=
ath of my husband, my family is under threat of President Bashar al-Assad f=
or Resolute our support for a true Democratic Government in Syria that is w=
hy they killed my husband. Due to the current President Bashar al-Assad pro=
test in the country many families are running for dear lives as their soldi=
ers are killing civilians, women and children. I want to bring to your noti=
ce that I have in my possession the sum of $6 Million Dollars. This is the =
money me and my husband have saved for our entire life as an Industrialist.=
I placed the money in trunk box and deposited it with the UN here in Damas=
cus. My sincere intention in writing you is to gain your kind permission an=
d acceptance to receive the money on my behalf in your Country and also mak=
e investment with it. For your permission and acceptance, I will give you 3=
0% commission as well as buy a property for you. I have to take this chance=
because I have no other alternative but to trust somebody. Am an orphan wi=
th no brother or sister so I cannot risk my life here to avoid an end to my=
family lineage. As a woman since my husband is dead all I have is my three=
sons. They deserve a decent life since I want them to grow up in a peacefu=
l environment. I will relocate to your Country with my family and invest th=
e money In accordance with law, your advice and assistance; we can work tog=
ether and achieve a better future for our families. Possible, may I request=
you to send me your information? Only if you are comfortable with this req=
uest. This is purely for the purpose of sending the money to you. The infor=
mation needed is: Your full names, your private phone number, your full add=
ress. I anticipate your positive response and on receipt of your informatio=
n I will provide you with further details. Sincerely, Mrs. Heba Hassan and =
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