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:
- "dear friend" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. ALI AHMED" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2020 23:15:34 -0700
Subject: PLEASE GET BACK TO ME
RE-REMITTANCE OF USD$15MILLION
My name is Mr.Ali Ahmed,from Burkina faso in West Africa.
I am The Manager of Auditing Department of Our Bank ,Ouagadougou
Burkina Faso.In my department we discovered an abandoned
USD$15,000,000,00 ( Fifteen Million United States Dollars). In an
account that belongs to this our foreign customer who died along with
his wife and and children in the plane crash.
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his
next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release
it unless somebody applies for it as the next of kin or relation to
the deceased, as indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately
we learn that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside
with him in the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.It is
therefore upon this discovery that I decided to make this business
proposals to you and release the money to you as next of kin or
relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since
nobody is coming for it because I don't want this money to go into the
bank treasury as unclaimed Bill.I will give you more details on your
reply of this mail
Waiting to hear from you
Mr. Ali Ahmed