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:
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "is 100% risk-free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chief auditor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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. Iain Harris," (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2019 07:26:29 +0100
Subject: ATTENTION: URGENT BUSINESS TRANSACTION.
The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA)Plc London,
OGA Headquarters London,
OGA Building London,
United Kingdom (UK).
Attention: My dear friend,
With due respect, I am Iain Harris, the chief auditor of The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) London and I was mandated by my colleagues to seek for a trustworthy and reliable foreign partner, who will assist us to transfer the sum of $30.6M USD only into a safe foreign account pending on our arrival in your country for sharing and utilization of the fund with the owner of the bank account.
The truth of matter, during the time of annual audits of the year 2018, I discovered an abandoned huge amount of money, unclaimed since in the year 2016.Please I want you to present your humble self to claim the fund as the original beneficiary of the fund and so that, prepare/ process documents through a credited attorney in the high court of justice London will be in your favor as the all whole arrangements for the fund to released to you is successful. Please be rest assured, no risky involve and I and my colleagues have agreed that, if you can act as the beneficiary of this fund, you will retain 30% of the total fund, for the assistance rendered, while we would retain 60% of the total and the balance of 10% of the total fund will be set aside for the off-setting of all expenses that might be incurred by both parties during the transaction process.
Therefore, we would not want you to expose this proposal to anybody for its confidential nature. And Please be rest assured that this transaction is 100% risk-free. Please, to enable us proceed successfully with documentation process in your favor to effect the payment in your bank account, your information details is highly needed for us to proceed immediately.
(1) Your full name, (2) your bank account information (3) your age, (4) your occuption (5) your telephone numbers
Please after going through this mail to you, send the reqirements immediately for us to proceed without delay.
Thanks for your corporation.
Mr. Iain Harris, the chief auditor,