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:
- 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)
- "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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Janet Gannon" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2018 09:54:11 +0100
Subject: Greetings in the name of the LORD Almighty.
Greetings in the name of God Please let this not sound strange to you for
my only surviving lawyer who would have done this died early this year.
I prayed and got your email ID from your country guestbook. I am Mrs. Janet
C. Gannon from United States of America; I am 58 years old am suffering
from a long time Metastasis cancer which also affected my brain. From all
indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious
that, according to my doctors they have advised me that i may not live for
the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very
I was brought up from a motherless babies home was married to my late
husband for twenty years without a child, my husband died in a fatal motor
accident Before his death we were true believers. Since his death I decided
not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the
sum of $10 million dollars with a Bank.
Presently, this money is still with the bank and the management just wrote
me to come forward and claim my money because they have kept it for so long
or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my
behalf since I cannot come over because of my illness or they get it
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital here in Switzerland where I
have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. My doctors have
told me that I have only a few months to live. It is my last wish to see
that this money is invested to any organization of your choice and
distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the
motherless babiesâ home.
I want you as God fearing person, to also use this money to fund church,
mosque, orphanages and widows, I took this decision, before i rest in peace
because my time will soon be up. As soon as I receive your reply I shall
give you the contact of the Bank. I will also issue you a letter of
authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of my fund. Provide
your information so that a lawyer wills it to my bank account officer and
to enable me issue you a letter of authorization.
FULL NAMES:__________SEX: _____ AGE: ______MARITAL
STATUS:_______________COUNTRY: ______CONTACT ADDRESS:
________________________PHONE NO#___________FAX NO#_________________
HOPING TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON, AND ASSURE ME THAT YOU WILL ACT ACCORDINGLY
AS I STATED HEREIN.
May God bless your golden heart and soul.
WAITING FOR YOUR REPLY.
YOURS IN CHRIST,
MRS.JANET C. GANNON