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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million 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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
- 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. Stanley" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2019 21:00:50 +0100
Subject: I NEED YOUR HELP.
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I
believe everyone will die someday. My name is Stan Benson, a merchant
in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). I have been diagnosed
with O esophageal Cancer, which was discovered very late, due to my
laxity in caring for my health. It has defied all forms of treatments
and therapy, and right now I have only about a few months to live,
according to medical experts.
I have not lived my life particularly well, as I never really cared
for anyone - not even myself -but my business. Though I am very rich,
I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused
on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now, I
frankly regret all that as I now know that there is more to life than
just wanting to have or make all the money in the world. I believe
when God gives me a second chance to come into this world, I would
live my life in a different way from how I have lived it.
Now that God has called me, I have willed and given most of my
property and assets to my immediate and extended family members and as
well as a few close friends. I want God to be merciful to me and
accept my soul, and so I have decided to give my life-long accumulated
wealth to charity organizations in order that it would give succor and
comfort to the less privileged in our societies, as I want this to be
one of the last good deeds I did on earth. So far, I have distributed
money to some charitable organizations in the U.A.E, Algeria and
Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I can no
longer do this myself.
I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and
distribute the money which I have there to charities and to the less
privileged in Bulgaria and Pakistan; they refused and kept the money
to themselves, hence I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to
be contented with what I have left for them. The last of my money
which no one knows of is a huge cash deposit of twenty four million
dollars that I have with a Security Company in Europe for safe
keeping. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and disburse
it to some charitable organizations and to the less privileged.
Please send me a mail to indicate if you will assist me in this
disbursement. I have set aside 10% for you for your time and patience.
While I wait to hear from you, may God be with you and your entire family.