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:
- "million us 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)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Coca Cola" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:16:52 +0200
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS! FROM COCA-COLA COMPANY
CONGRATULATIONS! FROM COCA-COLA COMPANY PIC. YEARLY AWARD.FROM UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
This is to notify you that your email address has being selected for the year 2017 from COCA-COLA. Lottery Award promotion through our computer ballot system
without you applying for it please contact our Agency in South Africa for your payment Mr. James Robin e-mail :( firstname.lastname@example.org) and number +27 83 468 5193, and your price winning is 12 million US Dollars, Congratulations once again.
Your information is needed for our reconfirmation and for your payment to be made. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.
We know that some people are using our company name to do some other things but this is for real. Please fill in your information for us to proceeds, thank you.
Your home town//
US// +191 7893 4024
UK// +44 7700 30 4736
SA// +27 83 468 5193
To reconfirm contact Mr young. On this number +372 8224 7600 thank you