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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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: "Staff Sergeant Stephens William David." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2021 03:09:26 -0900
Subject: Dear Friend
My name is Staff Sergeant Stephens William David. US ARMY serving the
World and my country in the most honorable way I know I can, in
Afghanistan right now, in a nutshell, I am an American soldier serving
in the Military with the Army 3rd infantry division. With a very
desperate need for assistance. I find it pleasurable to offer you my
partnership in business I only pray at this time that your address is
Now i found a very reliable way of sending a trunk metallic box
containing the amount of United States Dollars worth Twenty Million
Dollars(US$ 20 Million) as you must agree with me it has been hell on
earth trying to keep this money safe from people's eyes for all these
while and with this opportunity all I need is just someone capable I
can trust 100% I can send the box to.
So if you can assure me of your honesty I will go ahead and send the
box to you for safe keeping till I am back home and I will gladly give
you 40% of the money.
I will explain further, if you are interested.
God bless you and thanks for cooperation in advance.
Staff Sergeant Stephens William David.