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.
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Agems.Charlene Thornton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2021 08:45:59 +0100
Subject: FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION VISIT IN NIGERIA
ANTI-TERRORIST MONETARY, CYBER RESPONSE AND CRIMES DIVISION FBI
HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON DC FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS
J.EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING 935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON,
Our Ref: CBN /0N8/CONTRACT NO.856.
This is Agent Charlene B.Thornton and we are here in Nigeria as an
FBI/UNITED NATION delegate that have been delegated to investigate these
fraudsters who are in the business of swindling Foreigners that came for
transaction in Nigeria .
Please be informed that during our investigation,we found out that there
is a total sum amount of money $12.5 million that has been assigned in your
name as the beneficiary and these fraudsters are busy swindling
you without any hope of receiving your fund.
These are the works of the fraud stars who needed to extort money from
you in the name of this transfer.We have to inform you that we have made some
arrested in respect of this delayed over due fund. I have a very
limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I advise you urgently respond to this
These criminals will be caught unaware and we don't want them to know this
new development to avoid jeopardizing our investigation,you need
to conceal anything that has to do with this exercise to enable us get all
the necessary information we required.
I shall be expecting your swift response as soon as you receive this email.
Agent Charlene B.Thornton
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION VISIT IN NIGERIA