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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. William Adams" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2021 13:45:07 +0200
Subject: Business Proposal
Compliment of the day May I have the pleasure of introducing myself? I am
Dr. William Adams, a senior staff and chairman of the Tender Board
Committee on the award of contracts in the Department of Works and Housing
here in South Africa. I got your contact E-mail address through the
internet in my search to find a trustworthy person on whom I can repose
confidence for a colossal international money transaction.
My aim of sending this "business proposal" to you is to solicit for your
assistance and co-operation to transfer some huge amount of funds into your
account overseas. Therefore, this communication should be held in high
I wish to transfer into a safe and secured account overseas, the sum of
Twenty Five Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$25.5
Million) which is over-invoiced amount from contracts we awarded to foreign
contractors who have been duly paid on completion of their various
contracts. This money right now is in a coded account in the Reserve Bank
of South Africa.
However, by virtue of my position as civil servants, I cannot acquire these
funds in my name or in the names of companies here in South Africa. I
therefore asked on trust and sincerity to look for a reliable international
outfit partner abroad into whose account the sum of US$25.5 Million would
be transferred. We will compromise the sharing ratio on acceptance of my
If you are interested in this deal, I will require some information from
you in order to affect the transfer of the money. Please, be informed that
we shall commence processing of claims of payment once I receive your
interest from you, and the funds will get into your account within Five (5)
working days by Telegraphic Transfer (T.T).
Note that this transaction is 100% risk free. Do acknowledge the receipt of
this letter by indicating your interest in the transaction and also
including your direct contact details such as your telephone and fax
numbers for easy communication regarding this transaction. Every further
communication should be on my private email: *firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. William Adams