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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Doninic Williams" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2021 16:28:35 +0100
Subject: Re: DONATIONS URGENT MESSAGE.
From The Desk Of:
Mrs. Dominic Williams
Please Reply To This Email:(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Greetings, I am former Mrs.Fatima Setia Williams, now Mrs.Dominic
Williams, A widow to the Late Sheik Mohammed Williams, I am 72 years
old, suffering from long time cancer of the breast. From all
indications my condition is really deteriorating and it's quite
obvious that I won't live more than four months according to my
doctors. This is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad
My late husband was killed during the U.S raid against terrorism in
Afghanistan when he traveled to Afghanistan to monitor an Hospital / a
Humanitarian Foundation (HHF) he was setting up for the benefit of the
Afghan masses as of then, whose majority, and 99 percent of them are
Muslims / Islamic scholars and loyalists, during the period of our
marriage we couldn't produce any child. My late husband was very
wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his businesses and
My doctors have advised me that I may not live for more than four
months,so I now decided to divide part of this wealth, to contribute
to the development of the less privileged in Africa, America, Asia and
Europe.I selected you after visiting the website and I prayed over it,
I am willing to donate the sum of US$12,700, 000.00 TWELVE
MILLION AND SEVEN HUNDRED,THOUSAND DOLLARS, to you for the
less privileged./ORPHAN CHILDREN. Please I want you to note that, this
fund is deposited with a Security COMPANY and upon my instruction,
you will file in an application for the transfer of the money in your name.
Lastly, I honestly pray that this money. when transferred Into your
bank account.In your country.it will be used for the said purpose,
because I have come to find out that wealth acquisition, is vanity
upon vanity.I Await Your Urgent Reply. kindly contact my lawyer
BARRISTER PAUL UGO,through his Email.
Yours Mrs. Dominic Williams (JP).