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:
- "inheritance funds" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Juliana Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:14:18 -0400
Subject: Hello Dear,
I am contacting you for the release of your inheritance funds in our custody and we are very sorry for the unnecessary delay by corrupt officials who are trying to divert your funds into their private accounts. We have received an official letter regarding the Release of your Approved Fund of US$ 2.5 million Dollars part payment. To make everything fast and easy we decided to pay you through an Online Bank Account with our Bank or through our ATM Swift Card Payment System, we can also pay you by Key Tested Telex (K.T.T) Wire Transfer through Bank to Bank Account (Swift System). This is to enable you receive your Fund conveniently into any nominated Bank Account of your choice in your country. Kindly get back to Mr Joseph Etuk for more details through this email address: (email@example.com) Login details or ATM Swift Card and instructions on how to use your ATM Swift Card / access your Online Account and effect transfers to your designate Bank account by yourself
emailed to you, you are
(1) Full Names:
(2) Complete Address:
(4) Direct Phone Number:
(5) Contact Email Address:
(6) Preferred Currency For Account:
Mrs Juliana Smith
Foreign Payment Dept.
United Bank for Africa (UBA) SA Benin.