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:
- 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:
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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. Paulo Franco" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 08:05:07 +1000
Subject: Investment Proposal
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am a Security Manager in Crystal Urban Security Company in Panama. I
work closely with International investors most of them are politicians and
business men and women who wished to invest their funds in a profitable
business ventures with less or no taxation on their income.
However, I have some of my trusted wealthy individuals and public
officials who are fearful of any leak to the funds they have invested in
Mossack Fonseca shell corporations and wish to pull out of the
corporations and invest their funds in the hands of various individuals or
corporations elsewhere. Hence, I am contacting you today to ask your
interest of handling huge some of money on behalf of my trusted wealthy
It is in my best interest to know how much you can handle starting from
US$ 15 Million to US$ 8 Billion.
I am looking forward to hear from you.
NOTE: KINDLY CONSIDER THIS MESSAGE AS HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL, YOU CAN DELETE
IT BUT DO NOT SHARE THIS MESSAGE WITH ANYONE.
Thanks and remain blessed.
Dr. Paulo Franco.