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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: Dr David Fisher <"www."@true.ocn.ne.jp>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2017 07:12:53 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam
This is to inform you that we have been working towards the eradication
fraudsters and scam Artists in Africa with the help of the Organization
African Unity (OAU) United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and FBI.
Since your email address is among the lucky beneficiaries who will
a compensation funds, we have arranged your payment to be paid to you
through ATM VISA CARD and deliver to your postal address with the Pin
Numbers as to enable you withdrawal maximum of $5,000 on each withdrawal
from any Bank ATM Machine of your choice, until all the funds are
The ATM Card with Security Pin Numbers shall be delivered to you via
courier Service, depending your choice.
In order to proceed with this transaction, you will be required to
the agent in-charge ( MR.David Fisher ) via e-mail. Kindly look below to
find appropriate contact information:
CONTACT AGENT NAME: Dr.David Fisher
Phone Number: +229-99760537
You will be required to e-mail him with the following information:
DIRECT CONTACT NUMBER:
We advice you to stop all the communications with everyone regarding
payment as we have short listed to deliver to you and now urge you to
comply and receive your ATM Card funds.
Thanks for your understanding as you follow instructions while I wait to
hear from you today.
Yours in Services
Mr. Eric Johnson