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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Marian Jefferson
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2017 21:12:14 +0000
Subject: Compensation Fund Approved For Transfer
Head of United Nations Under-Secretary =
General for Internal Oversight Services
To: Unpaid Beneficiary,
From: Mrs. Marian Jefferson
This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria yesterday from USA, after ser=
ies of complaint from the FBI and other Security agencies from USA, Asia, E=
urope, and United Kingdom respectively about nonpayment of compensation fun=
d to scam victims, and lot of complains has been lodge against the Federal =
Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the high volume of fra=
udulent activities going on in both nations.
As directed by UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, we are working in collabo=
rations with the Nigerian Financial Crime Commission/FBI in order to get yo=
ur overdue payment compensation fund of $2.5Million only transfer into your=
account or pay out through international certified BANK DRAFT without any =
To be honest, you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that s=
ome top Nigerian and USA/Canadian Government officials are interested in yo=
ur fund and they are working in partnership with one Mr. Richard Graves fro=
m USA in order to frustrate you and make you lose focus and thereafter dive=
rt your compensation fund into their personal account and that is the main =
reason why they are disseminating this information to you.
Note that I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would li=
ke you to urgently respond to this message, by forward your details to Mr. =
Hart Joseph whom will authorize and start processing your compensation paym=
ent with the available payout options below, do not hesitate to forward the=
daily scam letter you received from imposter to us via email and those who=
m you have been scam by, as this will help in getting scam artist/ imperson=
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
KINDLY FURNISH US WITH THE FOLLOWING DETAILS FOR PROPER CLARIFICATIONS:
DATE OF BIRTH:
Option 2 : PAYOUT BY INTERNATIONAL CERTIFIELD BANK DRAFT
Your Full Names:
Head of United Nations Under-Secretary
General for Internal Oversight Services