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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "% of every payment" (Beware of any scheme that involves depositing checks or money orders or receiving wire transfers in your bank account and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere, for a percentage of 5-15% of the total. Such offers are *always* fraudulent and you will be liable for the entire amount when the checks, money orders or wire transfers turn out to be fraudulent. Any money already forwarded comes out of *your* pocket then. )
- This email message is a company representative scam. This type of job offer scam involves the cashing of fake checks and money orders. It could expose you to losses of tens of thousands of dollars as well as to the risk of criminal prosecution and (in some cases) imprisonment.
Fraud email example:
From: DR. JAMES HAGNER<Admin@loacalhost.com>
Date: 01 Jan 2020 14:19:54 -0800
Subject: Hello there,
FROM THE DESK OF,
DR. JAMES HAGNER,
CEO, FARM-ANAS COMPANY LTD. SOUTH AFRICA.
Actually, I find your country so good to invest in and I want you
to go through this message very carefully and get back to me as
soon as possible for details, as you have a greater role to play
as to this funds.
I am the CEO of Farm-Anans Company Limited and the company is a
major exporting company, but due to the high rate of taxation on
incoming and out going of funds in the South African region. I
hereby solicit the establishment of a business relationship with
you such that customers could be making payments of excess sales
by me through you and you will be remitting it to me via an
account that will not disclose the money being proceeds of
exports for which tax was evaded.
However, I want you to be informed that I am exporting and
selling out more of our products far beyond government approved
quota. And our company is one of the ten major companies'
empowered with exporting.
Now straight to business, you will be entitled to 20% of every
payment made through you. For your information's, we have debtors
to the tune of over $28,000, 000.00 USD of which $5,000,000.00
USD has been deposited at the Bank of England, and i would be
very glad if you can stand as a representative in your country
and earn 20% of every payment made through you for us and this
would be a continuing exercise process.
I await your readiness in order for us to proceed by instructing
some of our debtors who are almost ready to make payments, so
that they can start making the payments to me through you. You
can also contact me on my private e-mail....... (
Dr. JAMES HAGNER. (CEO).
FARM-ANAS COMPANY LTD.