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 us 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 "dying widow" scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Hi mrs shaw <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 07 Mar 2019 01:46:15 +0200
Subject: Halo My Dear Beloved.
My name is Mrs. Irene Shawcross; I am a dying woman who had decided to
donate what I have to the Charities based on the instructions given to
me by my late husband Mr. Shaw. I am 70 years old and was diagnosed with
cancer about four years ago, immediately after the death of my husband
who was Marine engineer and a contractor from governmental tenders and
other private entities, my late husband died accidentally under one of
the heavy duty equipment at one of his construction sites, We had not a
single child of our own to count on, We have been touched to donate from
what I have inherited from my late husband for the good work rather than
allow his relatives to varnish my husband's hard earned fund, although
they have already looted and taken a lot. My health will not permit me
to carry out some of the things, each day that passes by, I am afraid to
die, but life gives me no choice, but to answer the call.
I managed to get your contact details online in my desperate search for
a trustworthy person to assist me in this transaction, and he or she
will also benefit financially. Recently, the doctors told me I might not
live longer than 3 months after they diagnosed me of chronic/acute
lymphoma or myelitis [leukemia]. Leukemia is a blood cancer in both the
bone marrow and in blood itself, leukemia cells crowd out normal blood
cells leading to serious bleeding and infection. I have been undergoing
blood transfusion and it has drained My purse and little savings in my
hand although I belong to the high and rich, but feed like a person who
has nothing, as a result of this sickness. I want you to help me in
carrying out my last wish on earth which will be very profitable to us.
I want to WILL/Donate to you the total sum of $30.5 million USDollars
(Thirty Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars) to you which I want
you to distribute part of it to any charity home for me in your country
and the rest for yourself and your family which I will inform you on how
to share all as part of instructions from my late husband before his
please for further information contact me ASAP. Please reply as quickly
as you can, based on the fact that this is very urgent. You can also
call me if you can, although I am in and out the hospital for treatment,
but once the hospital gives me chance to use my phone I will answer your
Here is my Direct email address ( email@example.com )
Regards in sincerity,
Mrs. IRENE SHAWCROSS.
5th Street Houghton Estates
2094, Johannesburg- South Africa.