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:
- "account in your country or any safer place" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Rose Zongo" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 14:48:09 +0100
Please, kindly pardon me for any inconvenience this letter may cost you
because I know it may come to you as a surprise as weâ have no previous
I got your contact as I was searching for helping hand in your country,
this is why I decided to appeal to you directly for assistance because I'
have no relations or friends in your country for help.I am Mrs.Rose
Zongo,from Burkina Faso.
I am a widow being that I lost my husband a couple of months ago. My
husband was a serving director of the Cotton Exporting Board until his
death.He was assassinated last January by rebels following political
uprising. Before his death he had a foreign deposit account here in Burkina
Faso up to the tune of ($10.5M) Million Dollars which he told the bank was
for the importation of Cotton Processing machine.
I want you to do me a favour to receive this fund in a safe account in your
country or any safer place as the beneficiary. I have plans to do
investment in your country like real estate and industrial production. This
is my reason for writing to you. Please if you are willing to assist me and
my only Daughter,indicate your interest in replying soonest with your name,
address and telephone.
You should reply me as soon as you receive this letter for more Details.