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:
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Peter Chang" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2017 17:35:35 -0800
Subject: Consignment Shipment status..
Sequel to the secretive arrangement in regards to the shipment, I wish to inform you that all necessary
modalities have been concluded, the funds (US$26m) are in cash and ready to be shipped out.
Note carefully that the funds are contained in two trunks .Please do not be afraid as the funds are not
from any illegal source rather it was payment made from an oil and gas transaction by the former Egyptian
regime as a buy back contract with a Russian firm. Can I trust you enough to keep this top secret???
The reason why we cannot move the funds through bank to bank wire transfer is to avoid any trace.
The funds are contained in two trunks and are going to be shipped to you through the assistance of a
United Nations diplomat.
All I need now is your maximum co-operation and assistance for a successful and hitch-free transaction. The
trunks will be tagged and shipped as diplomatic baggages , under the Non-inspection category which is a
criteria for packages moving into any country as diplomatic baggages of which they are not subject to
scan by any authority, either border patrol or customs and exercise at the airport.
I did not disclose it to the diplomat that the trunks contain cash rather I informed him that the crates
contain Vital "DIPLOMATIC DOCUMENTS AND PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIALS" belonging to my client
(that's you). In view of this, Please forward to me a comfortable delivery address and as soon as I get this
information we will proceed immediately. Please note that this is the same way past rulers and government
officials from Africa, Middle East and Asia countries move cash worldwide for secrecy and to avoid tax.
Thank you for your co-operation.