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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "i want to solicit your attention" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "Paul Gerhard" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2019 13:36:36 -0800
Subject: HURRY REPLY MY EMAIL
I am sorry to encroach into your privacy in this manner, I found you listed in the Trade Center Chambers of Commerce directory here in Benin republic and I find it pleasurable to offer you my partnership in business.I only pray at this time that your address is still valid. I want to solicit your attention to receive money on my
behalf.My Name is Miss Ellis Infoasa from Libya,I am 21 years old,I am in St.Christophers Parish for refugee in Benin republic under United Nations High commission for Refugee I lost my parents in the recent mass killing in Cameroon, right now am in Republic of Benin, please save my life i am in danger need your help in transferring
my inheritance my parent left behind for me in a shipping company in Benin here ,i have every document for the transfer, all i need is a foreigner who will stand as the foreign partner to my father and beneficiary of the fund.The money deposited in the SHIPPING COMPANY is 8.4 Million,Eight Million four Hundred Thousand Dollars.
I just need this fund to be transfer/ship it to you so that i will come over to your country and complete my education as you know that my country have been in deep crisis due to the war.and I cannot go back there again because I have
nobody again all of my family were killed in the war. If you are interested to save me and help me receive my inheritance
fund Please get back to me on this email address below for more details
about me and the inheritance fund.
My Personal email / firstname.lastname@example.org
My regards to you
Miss Ellis Infoasa