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:
- "million 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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Dr.Benson." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2017 20:38:37 +0100
Subject: VERY IMPORTANT
Good day, I want to apologies for contacting you without your
knowledge, before I proceed further my Name is Dr.Benson from Togo,
I am the Chairman Contract Awarding Committee of the Economic of West
African States Ecowas here in Lome, Togo.
I got your contact through Network on line in my search for a reliable
and reputable person to handle a very confidential transaction that
involves a transfer of fund to a foreign account and I decided to
write you. After discussing my view and your profile with my
colleagues, they were very much satisfied and decided to contact you
immediately for this mutual business relationship. We wish to transfer
the sum of USD 36m (thirty-six Million United States Dollars only.) into your
personal or company`s bank account.
This fund was a residue of the over invoiced contract bills awarded by
us for the supply of hard/software,pharmaceuticals/medical items,light
and heavy duty vehicles, apparels and other administrative logistics
etc for the ECOMOG in Sierra-Leone and Liberia during the Peace
Kindly send me an E-mail through my private E-mail Address:
firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on this successful transactions.