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: "Michael Briggs" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2017 11:55:34 -0500
I am Michael Briggs. B, a U.S soldier currently carrying out my duty in Syria after serving in Afghanistan. I have a proposal for you. I and some of my colleagues recovered some huge amount of money here last two weeks during an operation. We just shared the money some days ago and I want to move mine to a safe place and that is why am contacting you through this mail because this is the only means of communication I have here.
I came across your email when I was searching for a random person online who I can trust with this proposal. I am willing to offer you 30% of the total money which is $12.5 million USD if you are willing to do the deal with me and I want you to know that this is very legitimate .You can reply me as soon as possible with your information, if you are willing to do this deal with me and I will advise you ahead on how I will send the funds out to you.
I will wait for your response.
Capt. Michael Briggs Brown