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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Patrick Bolt" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2020 06:02:51 -0700
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam
This is to inform you that we have received an "Irrevocable Approval" from the authorities to release your unpaid/inheritance funds of $6.5M Usd, Which have been recovered by the Financial Service Authority (FSA), United Kingdom. This time your funds have been scheduled to be released directly to you, following investigations carried out by this office.
By your response and confirmation of your current contact details ie Your Contact telephone/mobile numbers, Identity Card via return email, I will give you detailed information on how to release the funds through Bank to Bank transfer in your designated bank account.
Thanks and waiting for your response.