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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "consignment " (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)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.Edward Richard "<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2018 09:29:54 -0800
Subject: Very Urgent
Bank Of America,
Address:186 Newark Ave,
From The Desk Of:
(International Remmitance Officer)
I am Mr.Edward Richard from Wells Fargo Bank USA we had just formed
a new forum which is the newly inaugurated World Debt Recovery
committee (WDRC). My committee has a mandate to recover unpaid debts
associated with NNPC contracts, Lottery fund, inheritance fund, loans
and grants etc ranging from $10.5Million owed to various beneficiaries
and companies across the globe (Asia, Europe, USA, Africa, and
Australia) and submit the list of the unpaid beneficiaries/companies
to the 2 appointed official paying Banks for immediate payment of the
In the course of our investigation, your email address/particulars
were shortlisted among the first fifteen individuals yet to be paid
hence this email. However, we received a petition today from one Mrs.Susan Michael
that you are dead. According to her, you died in a
plane crash as such your fund should be paid to her as the apparent
heir. She has also submitted her Bank account with Wells Fargo Bank for
the transfer of the fund to her.
To avoid undue delay or paying the fund to wrong individual/beneficiary, we
have decided to contact you for confirmation. If we fail to hear from
you after 72 hours, it will be assumed that the petition of Mrs.
Mrs.Susan Michael is true and the fund will be paid to her without further delay.
Therefore, We would like you to choose below your choice of fund transfer:
(A) Bank to bank Transfer
(B) Certified Bank Draft/Cheque
(C) ATM Card
Your full personal information is also required as below which will be
needed for the transfer of your fund.
(A) Full name and residential address
(B) Next of kin
(E) Bank Account Information
(F) Telephone numbers
(G) Scan the first page of your international passport or drivers
license, recent passport photograph, send all details to this emailaddress:email@example.com attachment.
Your urgent response is always required because you have a limited
time to execute this fund.
Mr. Edward Richard
Call my Directline:202 796 1878