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:
- "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)
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- ",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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Patrick Ayah <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2019 04:42:12 -0700
I am writing you as an investor in the area of Real Estate,
I have a huge amount of money $200,000,000,00
(Two hundred million united state dollars)
that I want to invest into real estate and i need
a trust worthy person or company overseas who will help me to manage
I am looking for your cooperation in building a Tourist Hotel or Real
Estate in your country. I am sorry if this is not in line with your
I need an experienced person to assist me to set up, develop the
project or help me contact someone who is capable of controlling such
a large project. I am sorry if I have intruded on your privacy or
barged on you without your permission.
I have a very rewarding project
which I think will be beneficial to both of us putting
trust,confidentiality into focus.
I am waiting for your urgent reply so that we will starts immediately
on how the funds will be move to you in your country through the
If after going through this email
you do not find it interesting please disregard it and send me a
Your immediate reply will be highly appreciated and I shall give you
more information on this project.
I wait for your urgent response.