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:
- "million us 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Alistair Powell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2020 20:43:40 +0100
Subject: FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION
My name is Mr. Alistair Powell, I write to you based upon the request
by an Investor/ Financier to provide investment fund for tangible
projects in your country. My company represents the interest of
willing and able investors.
Due to the sensitivity of their positions in their respective
societies and the unsuitable investment climate of their countries,
they evacuate majority of their funds into more stable economies and
developed nations where they utilize them to make good proceeds.
A reserved client with whom I had worked with a few years ago recently
approached me that he wants an individual who will assist him to
invest $150.2 Million US Dollars in a lucrative business in any
country between 5 to 10 years for a start.
Furthermore, my client wants the investment to be based on 70% / 30%
sharing ratio after overheads for running the business for 10 years or
40% annual return on his investment. You need to indicate the option
that will be most appropriate for you. We extend hands of friendship
to you with the aim of making good profits for us all. All we need
from you to accomplish this is your total commitment, co-operation and
Looking forward to hearing from you soon through my e-mail.
Mr. Alistair Powell