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:
- ",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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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: "MR. LINCOLN HOWARD" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:15:59 -0700
Subject: ATTENTION BENEFICIARY
Greetings to you Dear lucky winner. We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual final draws held on the 15th of October 2019 by Facebook group in cash promotion to encourage the usage of Facebook worldwide. Your name was among the 20 lucky winners who won $250.000.00USD (Two hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollars) each on the Facebook group promotion award attached to Lucky Number (FB-225-7736), Ticket Number (FB-172-60), Batch Number (FB-0281/544) and Serial Number (99352748-20
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants and scam artists all participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 20,000 companies and 30,000,000 individuals email addresses from all over the world. This promotional program takes place every three years. You may be rest assured that this is real and legal. There are some scam artists around but thanks to the FBI, 216 of them have been arrested
You are required to contact the head of our disbursement department in the person of Mr. Lincoln Howard via this email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with information below for the complete processing of your Winning certificate and further information regarding the disbursement of your lottery winnings.
Country of Residence:
Your Email Address
Mr. Lincoln Howard