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:
- "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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "with absolute secrecy" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Miss Isabella Smith <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2021 01:16:20 -0800
Subject: I pray God that this message reaches you
I apologize if the contents in this mail are contrary to your moral ethics,
which I feel may be of great disturbance to your personal life, but please
treat with absolute secrecy and personal and I pray that this email reaches
you in the best of health.
I pray God that this message reaches you in wonderful spirit as I am making
this contact with you based on trust and confidence irrespective of the
fact that we have not met before and because of the nature of the situation
I found myself. I got your contact from web through personal endeavor and
decided to contact. I believe my contacting you is not an ordinary
coincidence because God can use any body known or unknown to accomplish
great things which he has ordained.
I am Esther Martos Aguilera, I was hospitalize after I had a car accident
with my family, I lost my husband and my two daughters who were also on
board in the accident. After the accident, I have been battling with some
health problems from the major injuries that I sustained in the cause of
Recently, my doctor told me that I have some few months to live due the
surgery that was conducted.Though what disturbs is my presence predicament,
due to the injuries that I sustained and damaged of my spinal cords in the
accident. Having known my condition, I have decided to Willing/Donate the
sum of $5.5 Million(Five Million,Five hundred thousand Dollars) to charity
and individual through you for the good work of the lord, and to help the
motherless, less privileged and also for the assistance of the widows.
Because I am the only surviving person and nobody else that will inherit
this money because they are now dead. I don't want a situation whereby this
deposit will be confiscated and declared unserviceable by the officials of
the finance company where it was deposited by my late husband who used to
work with shell development company as an engineer before his death.
All I want you to do is to assist in safe-keep of this fund valued at
US$5.5 Million United States Dollars deposited at the custody of the
security firm before it gets confiscated or declared un-serviceable.I seek
your consent to present you as the Trustee to my late husband's
inheritance, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.
If you are interested in carrying out this task, I want you to contact me
immediately, so that I can arrange all the modalities to effect the release
of the fund to you. I know I have never met you but my mind tells me to do
this, and I hope you will act sincerely. I have also decided that 30% of
this money should be taken by you from the total sum upon the success
release of this fund, because I am now too weak and fragile to do things
myself because of my present health problems.
I have been given 21 working days by the finance company for the collection
of the deposited item before it will be confiscated. I will appreciate your
utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished, as I
don't want anything that will Jeopardize my last wish.
Kindly furnish me your full name and your address also your contact number,
so that I will prepare all relevant documents with the assistance of our
family lawyer to effect the release of the fund to you.
Mrs. Isabella Smith