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:
- ",000,000" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Tito Mboweni" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2019 20:22:47 +0100
Subject: FROM THE DESK OF THE FINANCE MINISTER.
I write in respect of the fund brought to the department of National Treasury from Reserve bank in your name.
From the detailed report contained in the file that accompanied the fund, the fund was supposed to be transferred to you from Reserve bank, but was not due to some reasons that were not specified in the file.
The fund is 126,000,000 ZAR. Do you know about it?
This notification stands as the first and final notice for your fund to be released to you and after 5 working days of this notification, if I do not hear from you, we shall have no other option than to send the fund over to government coffers as unclaimed.
You are required to re-confirm the following details, so that we can commence your fund release process;
1, Your full name and age.
2, Your occupation.
3, Your cell phone number.
Honorable Minister of Finance,
Republic of South Africa.
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