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:
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "huge amount of money" (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 "dying widow" scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Radka Atahacoba <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Radka Atahacoba <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 23 Apr 2021 05:53:13 -0700
Subject: For the less privileged.
It's a great pleasure to have you as my last friend on earth. My
name is Mrs Radka Atahacoba. I was born in Bulgaria before I
moved to the States. My parents are Bulgarian who died when I was
young then I was raised in an orphanage home. I am married to the
late Mr Richard Atahacoba, my husband worked with the Brunei
Shell Petroleum Co. Sdn Bhd (BSP) for twenty years before he died
in the year 2010. We were married for twenty-five years without a
child. My Husband died after a brief illness that lasted for only
Since his death, I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside
my matrimonial home. When my late husband was alive we deposited
a huge amount of money in a Turkish Bank. For many years now, I
have been undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer. During my
last operation, I wrote to the bank regarding the deposited money
to raise money for my medication but because of the distance and
my health, I was not able to get their requirements. A few weeks
ago the Turkish bank management contacted me as the beneficiary
to come forward to sign for the release of this fund or rather
issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my
behalf if I can not come over.
Presently my heart grieves as I'm in the hospital because I
tested positive to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Due to the cancer,
my doctor made me understand that I will not have much time to
live because the Coronavirus and cancer has eaten deeply into my
system. Even as I am writing to you, I cannot hold my tears
knowing too well that I will die any moment from now. I came
across your contact details during my google search since I
cannot go in contact with anyone either far and near, I decided
to make use of the internet. Please, do not ignore this
benevolence call to save humanity.
It's my last wish to see this money distributed to charity
organizations. Because relatives and friends have plundered so
much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony
of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them. That is
why I need your assistance. I am seeking an honest person who
will get the Funds from the Bank and use the money to fund the
poor, orphanages, widows and charity organizations.
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will
inherit this money and I don't want my husband's hard-earned
money to be misused by his greedy relatives. I don't want a
situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner.
Hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid
of death hence I know where I am going if I die. Due to the state
of my health, I can not communicate by phone because my illness
has affected my throat. I prefer to communicate by email.
I will appreciate it if you reply to me urgently so that I can
send you a letter and explain further. I will appreciate your
Mrs. Radka Atahacoba