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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "west africa fund monitoring unit" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: Mrs Juliet Roland <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2019 01:00:03 +0800
Subject: We Are Still Waiting To Hear From You
This is to officially inform you that we have written to you severally
without any response and we believed that our previous mails did not
deliver and thatís the reason for this letter. We are contacting you
once again concerning the release of your inheritance fund / Check
which has been delayed for transfer by some officials who claim to be
in position of your fund thereby extorting monies from you in one way or
Your Fund has finally been approved for transfer by the West Africa Fund
Monitoring Unit. Your fund will be transferred to you via ATM Master
Card which is cash-able in any ATM machine or Bank anywhere in the
We hereby inform you that the ATM card worth US$4.8, million US dollars
has been as the first part payment of your inheritance fund which has
been delayed by these officers who claim to be in position of your fund.
Therefore you are warned to stop any further communication with anybody
concerning your inheritance funds.
Your fund is to be released via Master Card ATM in act to uphold the
rule of law which we represent. You have to reconfirm the information
below for security reasons. And also be informed that delivery agent
will leave this country as soon as you comply with (Courier) Company
Send them the following information of yours for the conclusion of your
ATM Card delivery: DHL director, Rev Michael Obodo.
1. YOUR FULL NAMES:
2. Delivery Address:
3 PHONE NUMBER:
4. CELL NUMBERS:
5. EMAIL ADDRESS:
11. COPY OF UR PASSPORT OR ID
Therefore you have to stop contacting anybody or offices regarding the check
since I have authorized the bank to issue you an ATM CARD so that you can
withdraw your fund to avoid any further problem. Contact him once you received
Thanks for your anticipation