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:
- 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:
- "million 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)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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)
- and cashier check). name: mr. joseph h. michael email: email@example.com text/call: +1 (669) 250-7733 good luck, mrs. elizabeth m. (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Elizabeth M. Maher" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2020 01:59:01 +0200
Subject: Attention dear
International Monetary Fund
In Affiliation with the
Department of treasury
Compensation of $6.4 million US dollars
Payment file number HQ-098/IMF/01/20
The directors, secretary of the IMF, the UN, the Department of Treasury and the World Bank representatives respectively. The above organizations agreed to compensate all the scam victims with a clear verifiable proof with the sum of ($6,400,000.00 USD) each. However, you are to contact Mr. Joseph H. Michael with your personal details and choice of payment for this claim. Send the following details to him:
Payment Methods are (Bank Transfer, ATM Card and Cashier Check).
Name: Mr. Joseph H. Michael
Text/Call: +1 (669) 250-7733
Mrs. Elizabeth M. Maher
New Jersey State Treasurer