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)
- "a security company " (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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "very 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)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Antonio Kabala" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 16 Apr 2020 14:06:53 -0500
Subject: ATTORNEY TO MRS MARIA STEVENS.
TRANSFER OF FUNDS
FROM DR ANTONIO KABALA.
ATTORNEY TO MRS MARIA STEVENS.
I KNOW HOW SURPRISE THIS LETTER WILL COME TO YOU,BUT I WILL
ADVICE THAT YOU CONSIDER IT AS A REQUEST FROM A FAMILY IN DARE
NEED OF ASSISTANCE.I AM DR ANTONIO KABALA OF LONDON, UNITED
KINGDOM.YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION CAME TO ME FROM YOUR COUNTRY'S
EMAIL DIRECTORY DURING MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND GOD FEARING
PERSON THAT CAN ASSIST MRS MARIA STEVENS AND HER FOUR SONS,AND I
QUITE BELIEVE ON MY OWN THAT YOU CAN BE OF GREAT HELP IN THIS
REGARD EVEN IF WE ARE NOT ACQUAINTED TO YOU BEFORE.
THIS BUSINESS INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF NINE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND U.S.DOLLARS ONLY (US$9,500,000.00) INTO YOUR ACCOUNT FOR
SAFE KEEPING.THIS FUNDS IS INHERITED BY MRS MARIA STEVENS LATE
HUSBAND DAVE WHO WAS ASSASSINATED BY THE PRESIDENT'S (ROBERT
MUGABE) AIDES IN VIEW OF TAKING HIS LANDS AND PROPERTY DURING THE
CRISIS WHICH LEAD TO THE KILLING AND BANISHING OF FOREIGN(WHITE)
FARMERS. AFTER THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND SHE APPROACHED ME BEING
HER FAMILY LAWYER AND TOLD ME THAT HER LATE HUSBAND HAD FILED A
DOCUMENT WHICH STIPULATES HIS WILL.IN THE WILL LATE MR DAVE
STEVENS SPECIFICALLY POINTED AND I QUOTE, PLEASE, I WISH TO DRAW
YOUR ATTENTION TO THE SUM OF NINE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND
U.S.DOLLARS(U.S$9.500,000.00M)WHICH I DEPOSITED WITH A SECURITY
COMPANY IN LONDON WITH ALL THE DOCUMENTS FILED BY ME THE FAMILY
LAWYER.MY MAIN PURPOSE OF CONTACTING YOU IS BECAUSE MY MADAM MRS
MARIA STEVENS WISH TO SOLICIT FOR A FOREIGNER THAT CAN ASSIST HER
AND THE CHILDREN TO TRANSFER THE MONEY OUT OF EUROPE FOR
INVESTMENT PURPOSES.THE LATE HUSBAND HAVE SAVED THIS MONEY TO
MAKE THE FUTURE OF WIFE AND THE FOUR ONLY SONS.
FROM THE ABOVE EXPLANATIONS YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THAT HER FUTURE
ESPECIALLY THE FUTURE OF HER FOUR SONS DEPENDS ON THIS MONEY AND
AS SUCH I WILL BE GRATEFUL IF YOU CAN ASSIST US IN TRANSFERRING
THIS FUND TO YOUR ACCOUNT OVERSEAS FOR OUR INVESTMENTS. YOU CAN
CONTACT ME DR ANTONIO KABALA HER LAWYER NOW TEMPORARY IN UNITED
KINGDOM TO MONITOR THESE TRANSACTION ON EMAIL IS (
email@example.com ) TO ARRANGE THE MODALITIES OF DEPOSITING
THIS FUND INTO YOUR ACCOUNT WITHOUT ANY HITCH. FOR YOUR
ASSISTANCE WE HAVE AGREED TO OFFER YOU 30% OF THE WHOLE
FUND,WHILE THE REMAINING 70% WILL BE KEPT FOR US UNDER YOUR CARE
TILL OUR ARRIVAL IN YOUR COUNTRY. WHILE REPLYING, KINDLY ENCLOSE
YOUR TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS FOR OUR EASIER COMMUNICATION.
WAITING FOR YOUR PROMPT AND POSITIVE RESPONSE.PLEASE READ ABOUT
MRS MARIA STEVENS
PROBLEMS IN ZIMBABWE FROM THE LINK BELOW.
GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR ANTICIPATED UNDERSTANDING AND CO-
I AM WAITING URGENTLY FOR YOUR REPLY YOU MUST KEEP THESE
TRANSACTION VERY CONFIDENTIAL FOR MRS MARIA STEVENS LIFE AND HER
CHILDREN LIFE SAFETY..
DR ANTONIO KABALA.