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:
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: "MR. ALEX JAMES" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2019 17:14:36 +0200
Subject: GOOD TURN THEY SAID DESERVES ANOTHER.
MY GOOD FIREND,
IT IS ONLY THE DAFT THAT FORGOT GOOD THINGS DONE TO THEM ESPECIALLY IN THEIR TIME OF DIFFICULTIES. I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOU BUT YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN ME.
I AM VERY HAPPY TO INFORM YOU THAT I FINALLY SUCCEEDED IN THE TRANSACTION SINCE YOU WERE NOT ABLE TO HELP ME CONCLUDED IT.
I AM NOW IN BAHAMAS WITH MR.PETER HELMAN WHO HELPED ME TO TRANSFER THE MONEY.WE ARE VERY BUSY HERE ON THE INVESTMENT PROJECT.
HOWEVER,FOR THE SAKE OF POSTERITY I COULD NOT BUT FORGET ALL THE EFFORTS YOU MADE TO CONCLUDE WITH ME,BUT CIRCUMSTANCE DID NOT WARRANT YOU.CONSEQUENTLY, I HAVE PREPARED A CHEQUE OF USD $ 1.500,000.00 AS A COMPENSATION FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE.
LEFT THE CHEQUE WITH MY SECRETARY Mrs. Phyllis CHURCHILL WITH THE INSTRUCTION TO GET IT ACROSS TO YOU.
YOU CAN CONTACT Mrs. Phyllis CHURCHILL
AND DISCUSS WITH HIM ON HOW YOU WISH TO COLLECT THE CHEQUE. I THINK IT WORTH DOING SO THAT GOD WHO SHOWED HIS MERCY TO ME WILL CONTINUE TO BLESS ME.
THANKS AND GOOD BYE MY GOOD FRIEND
MR. ALEX JAMES