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:
- "trunk box" (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: "Mr. Sam Kofi Atta Mills" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2017 07:36:33 -0800
Subject: I want to invest in your country.
Greetings to you,
I want to invest in your country. I am Mr. Samuel Kofi Mills, from
Ghana, the only son of Professor John Evans Fifii Atta Mills, former
President Republic of Ghana. He passed away to the lord on Tuesday
24th July 2012 at the 37 Military hospital in Accra on Tuesday
Before his unfortunate death my father made it clearly to me that he
lodged the sum of US$15, 500, 000.00 dollars with United Bank for
Africa here in Accra-Ghana and also deposited in a Security Firm, a
trunk box containing 150 kg of Gold which is our family treasures for
He instructed that I should claim it to look after myself. I intend to
invest this money abroad, hence my contacting you to advise me how
best I can invest this money in your country. For your assistance I
will offer 20% of the money to you. I have all the vital documents
covering the deposit, of which I can send on request.
Thank you very much for the anticipated acceptance while I expect your
Mr. Samuel Kofi Mills.