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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- "diplomatic agent" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "contact the diplomat" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cotonou" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: " Barr.Philip Micheal" <"wwww."@leaf.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: " Barr.Philip Micheal" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2017 21:27:09 +0900 (JST)
Subject: CONTACT THE FORIEGN DHL AGENT IN YOUR CITY
Last update about your over due shipment. I am Barrister Philip Micheal, I work with Ministry Of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration here in Cotonou, Republic Of Benin, A delivery Agent by name Mr.John Williams came down last week from your country with a package that contained Atm Visa Card worth of $3.5 Million Dollars. He submitted the package to our office on his arrival for safe keeping and later his body was found dead in a ghastly auto crash in the city. We have sent the package back to your country via diplomatic services because there is no other way to locate you in respect of the package.
The only information we have about you is your email address/name which he wrote somewhere in the document attached to the package. So we are emailing you in respect of this to know if you are the rightful owner of the Atm Visa Card so that you can contact the assigned diplomatic who arrived your country with your package a while ago. Please if you are the owner,kindly contact the diplomatic Agent Mr. Richard Peterson by email(firstname.lastname@example.org) tell number (856 226 9160)and reconfirm your full information such as your full name your home address, your contact phone number and nearest airport include your Id to enable him deliver the package to you safely; I anticipate your update once you get in contact with the diplomat.