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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "cheque " (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. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Flordevil Pingam <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 01:13:08 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: Re: HELLO,DEAR MY DONATION TO YOU
HELLO MY DEAR, MY DONATION TO YOU.
With Due Respect and Humility, I was compelled to write you under
humanitarian ground. My name is Mrs Flordvile Pingkie, PHILIPPINE Origin
but married with Late Sir Ratnavale from MALAYSIA. I have took a personal
decision to donate what I inherited from my late husband to the Charity
organization, less privilege, building and orphans. I am 64 years old and I
was diagnosed for cancer since the past 4 years, immediately after the
death of my husband. We were both married for many years without a child, I
took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this
My late husband was The chairman/CEO of k: E global industries and a
philanthropist based in MALAYSIA. I have decided to donate a Cheque of
($2,5000.00)(Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand dollars) to you for this
assignment, Charity, less privilege, building of schools,hospitals and also
for the assistance of the poor widows, Motherless babies, Charity
organization, MUSLIM OR CHRISTIAN.
Please always be prayerful all through your life, we are visitors on this
earth and we must be very careful in whatever we do so that our soul will
not be a waste. I wish you all the best and may God bless you abundantly. I
AM WAITING FOR YOUR URGENT REPLY.
Remain blessed in God. Yours
Mother Flordeville Pingkiam