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:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "money gram" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: "Mr. Rex W. Tillerson." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2018 00:32:30 -0800
Subject: U.S Department of State
U.S Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520.
Your ATM Visa Card Will Be Shipped Through USPS To Your Address I am
Mr. Rex W. Tillerson, United States Secretary of State by profession.
This is to inform you officially that after our investigations with
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) and other Security Agencies in the Country for the year ended
2016 and 2018, we discovered that you have not receive your fund.
I have made it my first point of call since taking office to settle
all Outstanding Payments accrued to Individuals or Corporations with
respect to local and overseas contract payment, Debt Rescheduling and
Outstanding Compensation payment.
This is to make sure all Outstanding payments are settled beginning of
this fiscal year 2017. On Behalf of the entire staff of the U.S.
Department of State and the United Nations in collaboration with World
Bank, we apologize for the delay of your contract payment, Winning or
Inheritance funds from most of African Countries and all the
inconveniences you encountered while pursuing this payment.
However, from the records of outstanding beneficiaries due for payment
with the U.S Secretary of State, your name was discovered as next on
the list of the outstanding payment who has not yet received their
Note that from the record in my file, your outstanding contract
payment is $1,850,000.00 USD (One Million, Eight Hundred And Fifty
Thousand United States Dollars) loaded in an ATM Visa Card that allows
you to make a daily maximum withdrawal limit of $5,000 Five Thousand
Dollars) YOUR ATM PIN CODE ( 7250 ).
I have your file here in my office and it says that you are yet to
receive your fund valued at $1,850,000.00 USD (One Million, Eight
Hundred And Fifty Thousand United States Dollars). This Funds will now
be delivered to your designated address or your preferred payment
We have perfected all modules on how to bring this fund to your house
without any problem, but be aware that United Nations and the United
States Government has only authorised my office to release the Sum of
$1,850,000.00 USD to you as true beneficiary of the Fund.
Note that your loaded ATM Visa Card will be mailed to you through
Priority Mail Express (USPS) to your designated address immediately
you admit full compliance to this email. You are advised to kindly
reply this email with the below details enclosed to help ensure safe
mailing of your ATM Visa Card:
Your Full Name:
Your Contact House Address:
Name of City of Residence:
Country of Residence:
Direct Mobile Telephone Number:
ID Card, DL or Passport Copy:
Age and Occupation:
NOTE: Every documentation proof for your fund have been packaged and
seal to be mailed together with your Visa Card to your address.
Therefore, the only obligation required of you by the laws of the
Government of United States and the financial Monetary Policy of the
Supreme Court, states that; you as a beneficiary must officially
obtain the irrevocable LEGAL STAY OF PROCEED from the Supreme Court of
USA, as a means to justify the legitimacy, transparency and clean bill
of funds from USA so that by the time your funds gets to you, no
authority will question the funds as it has been legally certified
free from all financial Malpractices and facets. The LEGAL STAY OF
PROCEED is valued at a cost of just ( $350) The fee payment can be
made through Western union or Money Gram Money Transfer here in the
As soon as the above mentioned $350 is received, The LEGAL STAY OF
PROCEED will be secured on your behalf immediately. I need all the
compliance that I can get from you to ensure we get this project
accomplished. Personally, I am very sorry for the delay you have gone
through in the past years. Thanks for adhering to this instructions
which are meant for your sole benefit, once again accept my
congratulations in advance.
Thanks for your cooperation as your quick response to this email
notice with adherence to the above instructions is highly anticipated.
Mr. Rex W. Tillerson.