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:
- "activation fee" (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. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: Office of Mary Jaharis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2019 10:19:05 +0000
Subject: For You
I am sure this mail will be coming to you as a bite of a surprise
since we have never meet before and you may also be wondering why I
have decided to choose you amongst the numerous internet users in the
world, precisely I cannot say why I have chosen you but do not be
alarmed for I mean you no harm.
My name is Mary Jaharis, wife of late Michael Jaharis who was an
American lawyer, businessman and philanthropist, He was the founder of
Kos Pharmaceuticals and Vatera Healthcare Partners LLC, and co-founder
of Arisaph Pharmaceuticals. We have an insured dormant investment
account with a Private Investment Bank containing the sum of three
million six hundred and ninety thousand us dollars and I want you to
have the account and money.
The account is currently dormant due to my health conditions, I was
not able to operate the account for over 5 years, leaving the account
in the current dormant state. The investment account is protected by
our insurance policy making any deduction impossible which means you
will have to reactivate the account before you can be able to transfer
or withdraw the money. If you can handle the account reactivation fee
which has to be paid separately, then all you have to do is forward
this email to my attorney, she is already aware of my decision and she
will assist you with the bank transfer process if you can handle the
account reactivation fee, here is the contact details of my attorney.
Barrister Barbra Jones
Legal Financial Solicitor, Banking & Financial Institutions,
Commercial Finance, Litigation
This email will be sent to you by my caretaker on my behalf as I am
currently unavailable. This is the only email you will receive from
me, as shocking and strange as all this may feel or seem, I donât want
you to be alarmed and If you choose not to accept, I understand, my
account will be terminated and funds repossess by the bank if no one
shows up for it as I have no one else to give this to but you, I have
given all I can to my children and those close to me including my
caretakers, this is the only good left for me to do. It is between you
and the bank now and I wish you all the best while you are still here.