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:
- 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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "western union" (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. )
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
Fraud email example:
From: David Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2020 02:34:18 -0800
Subject: Dear Beneficiary
Our Ref: RTB /SNT/STB
This is to inform you that following the three (3) days meeting held
between the FBI, International Financial Investigation Unit, the
Association of Better Business Bureau and the United Nations in
relation to the just initiated Compensation program by the UN, be
notified that you have been included along side others in the
compensation program since you were found to have been scammed in
recent past due to the report we detected in the FBI Scammed
Monitoring Network. Be informed that the sum of (five million, two
hundred thousand U.S. dollars)
had been set aside as compensation to you for
being a victim as this is geared towards alleviating the suffering you
might have gone through over time. We also do hope you will have a new
beginning once this funds gets to you.
Here, the FBI headed by David Jackson have been officially delegated
to come over to Africa by these agencies to investigate, monitor and
ensure that all beneficiaries receives their compensation fund without
Note that in the course of our investigations, we detected your name
and details in our Scammed Monitoring Network. We also found out that
you were scammed of a huge sum of money by scammers via Western union
Be notified here as well that your said compensation fund will be
transfer to you via the Citibank being the accredited paying bank
mandated by the United Nations officials to handle the payment
However, we have to inform you that we have been able to arrest some
of the swindlers who has been in this illicit business and will be
facing prosecution soon. For your information, have limited time to
stay back here, so we will advice that you respond to this message
ASAP. More importantly, please endeavor to keep this vital information
to yourself and do not make the mistake of letting the unscrupulous
elements know our effort in trailing their illegal acts. This is so
because we wouldn't want that to jeopardize our investigation. All you
need to do is to follow our instructions as we will ensure you receive
your compensation accordingly and as directed by the United Nations.
We urgently wait to receive your response.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
INVESTIGATION ON ALL ONLINE WIRE TRANSFER