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)
- "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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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)
- 80 haymarket, london sw1y 4tq, united kingdom. email: firstname.lastname@example.org attention: the british high commission in nigeria, benin (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2020 06:10:45 +0900
Subject: Attention: Fund Owner
BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION
80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TQ,
The British High Commission in Nigeria, Benin Republic, Ghana and
Burkina Faso received a report of scam against you and other British/US
and Malaysian citizens, Etc. The countries of Nigeria, Benin Republic,
Burkina Faso and Ghana have recompensed you following the meeting held
with the four countries' Government and various countries' high
commission for the fraudulent activities carried out by the four
Your email address was among those scammed as listed by the Nigeria
Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU). Compensation has been issued out in
Certified Bank Drafts to all the affected victims and has been already
been in distribution to all the bearers. Your draft was among those that
were reported undelivered as at on Friday and we wish to advise you to
see to the instructions of the Committee to make sure you receive your
According to the number of applicants at hand, 184 Beneficiaries has
been paid, half of the victims are from the United States, and we still
have more 37 left to be paid the compensations of $1,000,000.00 USD
Your particulars was mentioned by one of the Syndicates who was arrested
as one of their victims of the operations, you are hereby warned not to
communicate or duplicate this message to him for any reason whatsoever
as the U.S. secret service is already on trace of the other criminals.
So keep it secret till they are all apprehended. Other victims who have
not been contacted can submit their application as well for scrutiny and
NFIU further told us that the use of Nigeria and Ghana Couriers was
abolished due to interception activities noticed in the above mentioned
courier services in Benin, Nigeria and Ghana and thereby have made a
concrete arrangement with the Courier Company for a safe delivery to
your door-step once the beneficiary meets up the demand of the
We advise that you do the needful to make sure the NFIU dispatches your
Draft on Friday.
You are assured of the safety of your draft and availability. Be advised
that you should stop further contacts with all the fake lawyers and
security companies who in collaboration scammed you. Get back to me
immediately through my assistant Mr.John Tom (firstname.lastname@example.org) with
your correct full details (Full Name, Contact Address And Reachable
Telephone Number) to check if the delivery date suits you.
Yours in Service,