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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Russell Thompson <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2019 22:14:35 +0200
Subject: Greetings to you
There is a genuine need for the investment of a substantial amount in a
secure and stable economy around the world by my client. The investment
aims at tourism and real estate primarily, but will strongly consider
any other business area or offer that can guarantee outstanding fiscal
My name is Russell Thompson, investment adviser to the concerned
persons. The investment fund is already tied down securely as
receivables and will be transferred to your individual/company account
if we accept to work together.
You will only make a lawful change of the original beneficiary names and
address to have the payment officially effected.
Note, that my client is a public office holder cum politician of immense
standing; as such his identity must be jealously guarded and protected
throughout the exercise for obvious reasons.
Let your reaction reach me via email soonest, if you have the
track-record and potentials to receive, invest, and manage large sums
successfully to profitability.
Mr. Russell Thompson