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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "keep this confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a "Yukos oil" scam. The criminals who send such emails have no connection to Yukos Oil. The emails are usually sent from Nigeria. The only money that ever changes hands in this scam is from you to the criminals.
Fraud email example:
From: "FUNDING GROUP" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2020 06:28:11 -0800
Subject: INFORMATION ON MUTUAL CO-OPERATION (REF: THEHO/2020)
I Thomas Donnely, representing Mr. Mikhail Khordokovsky the former C.E.O of Yukos Oil Company in Russia. I have a very sensitive and
confidential brief from this top (oligarch) to ask for your partnership in re-profiling funds over US$500 million.
I will give the details, but in summary, the funds are coming via private bank and this is a legitimate transaction. You will be paid 10% for your
If you are interested, provide me with your confidential telephone number, fax number and email address and I will provide further
details and instructions.
Please keep this confidential; we can't afford more political problems. Finally, please note that this must be concluded within two
weeks once we agree on terms.
Kindly reply back with your Full Name, Country and your Private Telephone.
Consultant to the Investor