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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "is 100% risk-free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Daniel Wakaso <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2017 02:40:27 +0100
Subject: Reply Now
l know this proposal may come to you as a surprise but kindly permit me
to strike this deal with you on a very high confidential level.
As The Head of Accounts Department in The Ghana Ministry of Roads and
Highways, I am in-charge of Payment Approval of Contracts awarded to
Local and Foreign Contractors by Ghana government.
My Ministry negotiated with one Foreign Construction Company who
executed a major road construction contract which was supposed to be
awarded to two Foreign Construction Companies at the cost of One Hundred
Million Dollars (USD$100,000,000.00).
Based on a special arrangement, the company executed the contract at the
cost of Fifty Million Dollars (USD$50,000,000.00) instead of One Hundred
Million Dollars (USD$100,000,000.00) and the contract has been completed
and the company has been duly paid.
Therefore, I want you to stand as the second Foreign Contractor so that
the balance of Fifty Million Dollars (USD$50,000,000.00) will be paid to
you for I and you to share 50/50 and if possible invest together in a
All the processes are going to be legal, be rest assured that this
transaction is 100% risk-free. Please if you are interested, reply to me
via this email: firstname.lastname@example.org so that I will give you details of
Mr. Daniel Wakaso.