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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "MONIKA" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2018 21:45:14 -0800
My Dear Friend,
Greetings to you and your family from my sincere heart.
Presently, I'm in the hospital where I am undergoing treatment for Esophageal Cancer. Today my Doctor told me that I will not live up to 30 days. I am widow to late Colonel Andre Derefaka, former deputy defence attaché to Benin consulate in Croatia. My husband was killed by those who were envious of his position in the same office.
Now there is 1.6 Million Dollars my late husband deposited in a bank, here in Benin.
Before his death he vowed to use his wealth for the orphanages. I have decided to donate this money to an individual, who will utilise it in fulfilment of the last request of my husband.
Reply now with your full names, phone number, address and occupation. I will give you more details after consideration.
Mrs. Monika Derefaka