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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Frank" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2019 20:40:55 -0700
Subject: GOOD DAY
>From the Desk of: Mr.Martin Frank Dear Sir/Ma, I wish to seek your assistan=
ce for the transfer of US$12,500,000.00M depository made by a foreign inves=
tor for an investment programmed that has remained dormant for years now. I=
discovered that the account holder died without making a WILL on the depos=
itory. And upon my further curious investigation, the deceased was a member=
of a government agency where huge amounts were reportedly missing. This mo=
ney cannot be approved to a local bank account holder, but can only be appr=
oved to a foreigner. If you will stand as next of kin to the fund, it will =
be shared 50%/50%, as this is a TWO-MAN business deal transaction, I shall =
provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you und=
erstand the transaction. If this proposal is acceptable by you, I advised y=
ou provide immediately your full Names and Address, Date of Birth, Occupati=
on, Tel & Fax Numbers. I await your urgent response. Do reply me thru this =
e-mail email@example.com Thanks with great regards. Mr.Martin Frank=
NOTE: If you received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder, it is because=
of the restrictions imposed by your Mail/Internet Service Provider, i urge=
you to treat it genuinely.