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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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 fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Xiangaq Ilahui " <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 16 May 2021 15:06:58 +0200
Subject: Covid-19 Relief Fund Award
Dear E-mail Beneficiary,
In the wake of the global COVID-19 Pandemic, I wish to bring you the
good news of hope. I am Dr. Xiangaq Ilahui, Regional Secretary of
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I write to officially inform
you that you have been selected to receive the UN Covid-19 stimulus
package worth US$1,500,000.00 USD (One Million Five Hundred Thousand
United States Dollars). The selection process was carried out through
the United Nations (UN) computerized email selection system, from a
database of over 79,980,000 email addresses obtained from all continents
of the world, which your email address was selected among other lucky
The United Nations COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund is a UN
inter-agency fund mechanism established by the UN Secretary-General to
help support low- and middle-income persons to respond to the pandemic
and its impacts, including an unprecedented socio-economic shock. The
Fundâs assistance targets those most-vulnerable to economic hardship and
social disruption around the world.
We are delighted to inform you that due to mixed up of names and
numbers, your email attached to approved number UN6MM48321/COVID-19/ZA,
which consequently fall on our International Chapter in South Africa,
therefore, you are advised to contact the United Nations COVID-19
Response and Recovery Fund Coordinator and Grants Manager in South
Africa (Ms. Cynthia Mhlanga), to claim your $1,500,000.00 USD (One
Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)without any delay.
Name: Ms. Cynthia Mhlanga
Reference/Approved No.: UN6MM48321/COVID-19/ZA
Confirm the following information as soon as possible.
1. Your Full Names.
2. Your Address.
4. Direct Telephone#.
5. Country of Origin.
8. Marital Status.
Not; it's in your hands to stop the spread of COVID-19. United Nation's
advises to follow the guidelines of the scientific community.
(1) Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, or an
alcohol based solution.
(2) Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
(3) Practice social distancing. Reduce social activity and, if you
really need to meet someone, maintain a 2-meter (6-foot) distance
between the two of you.
Congratulations once again.
Dr. Xiangaq Ilahui
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.