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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "chief auditor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Elizabeth Omar <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2020 09:57:34 +0100
Subject: GOOD NEWS
I know that this message will come to you as a surprise as we don't know
ourselves before, i believe in God that you will never let me down in this
business. I am Peter Mark Mario, Am the second Chief Auditor Officer of
BCV Bank Of SWISS. After going through some old files in my records, I
discovered an old account opened in this bank in 2007 for 36 calendar
months, valued at (USD$5.5M) one million, five hundred thousand united
states dollars. Since then nobody has operated this account again name
Horotan Mark, is a citizen of your country. Horotan was among the death
victims in the FEBRUARY 27TH 2010 Earthquake disaster in CHILI that killed
over 5,000 people. He was in Chili on a business trip and that was how he
met his end.
I contacted you because of your last name and nationality with him. The
bank headquarters will release the fund to you. There is no risk involved;
I am suggesting we share the funds equal, 60/40% to both parties, my share
will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream. The
transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will
protect you from any breach of law. Please get back to me in my email for
I need your strong assurance and trust.
I look forward to your earliest reply.
My friend ,please i will like to have your email so that i can write to you
and tell you more about this transaction or you can write to me on my email
thanks.looking forward for your reply
Mr Peter Mark Mario