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:
- "cost of transfer" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "abuja" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "REV CATHERINE JONAS" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 16:19:00 -0700
Subject: Kindly Accept My Offer
I am Sister CATHERINE JONAS from USA, served at St. Theresa Pro. Catheral, Maitama Abuja Nigeria, I am 63 years old suffering from chronic urinary tract cancer. From all indications, my condition is really deteriorating and is quite obvious that i may not live more than two months after my next surgery in London.
My personal physician told me that I may not live for more than 2 months and I have no child of mine since my spiritual obligation does not permit me to marry So, I now decide to donate all my life savings, which turns out to be at the sum of. (Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only ) to you for humanitarian purposes. by establishing a foundation in your country under my name, so as to immortalize my name and 20 percent of this sum would be yours while 80 percent goes for the project
This money is deposited in a reliable bank in, Nigeria, Presently, I have informed my Attorney, about my decision in WILLING this fund to you, you are to get back to me immediately if you are interested in carrying out this task, so that I will instruct you on how to get in contact with my attorney and my account officer.
NOTE: I shall bear the cost of transferring this money to you; all i need is your sincerity. God bless you.
REV CATHERINE JONAS