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:
- 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:
- "because it still remains the fastest medium of communication" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "i feel quite safe dealing with you in this important business" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "international remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mark Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 1 May 2019 10:20:27 +0200
Please, I would like to confide in you for a business proposal. I feel
quite safe dealing with you in this important business deal. This is a
personal email directed to you for your personal consideration alone,I
request that it remain and be treated as such. Though this medium
(Internet) has been greatly abused, I choose to reach you through
email because it still remains the fastest medium of communication.
However, this correspondence is private, and it should be treated in
strict confidence. I know it will take you by surprise to receive this
information because emails like this fly over the internet telling
people about funds and other things. I always receive similar offers
from the internet which I normally delete because I believe they are
all hoax email from scam artists.
My name is Mr.Mark Smith. I am working at Westpac bank at the
international remittance department in Brisbane Australia. I am
contacting you because of an over-invoiced contract sum acquired from
the energy sector. I chose you because I got your contact and
credibility through an online search engine.
The over-invoiced contract amount is US$35Million(Thirty-Five Million
United States Dollars)and all paperwork, all international legal
procedures, ethics, fiscal and financial policy rules are taking care
All documents that are required to be acquired at the various
ministries involved to support the claim will be acquired in your name
and charges for it will be paid in full. You do not need to pay any
money for it. All I need from you is to send your bank details to
receive the money. We will share 55percent for me, 5percent for
charity and 40 percent for you.
Note: This transaction is risk-free and if you require more
clarification, please do not hesitate to get back to me. This
transaction is scheduled to be finalized within 5working days once you
I will fill you in with further details upon your reply with this my