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:
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Alex Chan" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2017 10:03:11 -0000
Subject: A Proposal
Dear Prospective Partner,
I am Mr. Alex Chan, a senior member of the Thailand Tenders Board. I am making this contact with you based on my urgent need for a reliable and honest business owner who can stand as a proxy to receive a huge amount of money in the tune of the figure stated below. I am a female government official under strict conditions and not permitted to operate offshore bank accounts or own any investments home and abroad while in service. Apparently, it's a gainful Business and the deal is absolutely risk free, but you should have the capacity to receive the funds and put in your line of business for the time being.
Details: A contract we awarded to a foreign firm handling a part of Thai Metro Rail-Projects was over invoiced deliberately to the tune of $1.4 million (United States Dollars). The deal is this, you will only be presented as a contractor who had supplied a product(s) and rendered some services worth this sum and yet to be fully paid, thereafter our international bank account officer in Europe or Asia will contact you for the re-confirmation of your personal data, then the funds will be wired after a strong confirmation letter from home office must have been sent to them.
In consideration of my disadvantages, I am willing to offer you a fair % of the total sum, while my share shall be invested in your line of business for security reasons. If you can, please get back to me so as to enable us commence with the official paper works for the approval of the payment in your name.
Mr. Alex Chan