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 united states 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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Charles Stabbins" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 12:12:47 -0500
Subject: Mutual Benefit
MY NAME IS CHARLES STEBBINS, I KNOW YOU MUST BE SURPRISED AT THIS DEVELOPMENT BUT I CHOSE TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH BECAUSE OF MY SINCERE WISH TO TREAT EVERY MAN,
AS I WOULD EXPECT TO BE TREATED.AFTER THOROUGH INVESTIGATION ON YOUR CONTRACT PAYMENT FILE AS DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT, I DISCOVERED THAT IT WOULD TAKE A LONG PROCESS FOR YOUR MONEY TO BE RELEASED DUE TO SOME IRREGULARITIES DETECTED IN YOUR FILE. DURING OUR INVESTIGATION.
I FOUND OUT THAT YOU HAVE SPENT SO MUCH MONEY IN TRYING TO REALIZE YOUR CONTRACT PAYMENT, WHICH DID NOT EVEN REFLECT IN YOUR FILE, BUT I HAVE AN OFFER, WHICH WILL AT LEAST HELP YOUR FINANCIAL STAND UNTIL YOU RECEIVE YOUR CONTRACT PAYMENT. THIS OFFER IS AN AMOUNT FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LEFTOVER. IT IS A TOTAL SUM OF US$12,000.000 (TWELFTH MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY), WHICH WILL BE SHARED BETWEEN YOU AND I IN THE RATIO OF 50%-50%THIS AMOUNT IS NOT FROM YOUR CONTRACT SUM OR HAVE ANY THING RELATED TO YOUR CONTRACT SUM, RATHER IT IS A LEFT OVER FROM THE AMOUNT USED IN PAYING LOCAL CONTRACTORS AND IT IS DIRECTLY UNDER MY CUSTODY.I AM OFFERING YOU THIS BECAUSE I HAVE SEEN THAT YOUR CONTRACT FUND WILL NOT BE RELEASED ON TIME UNTIL ALL THE ANOMALIES ARE RECTIFIED AND ALSO BECAUSE YOU ARE A GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR.
1) A BANK ACCOUNT DETAIL.AND YOUR PHONE NUMBER
2) PASSPORT ID / DRIVERS LICENSE WHICH WILL BE NEEDED TO NORMALIZE THE ACCOUNT IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION, THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT PAYMENT. THEREFORE THERE WILL BE NO BUREAUCRACY OR MISFORTUNE.