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:
- "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)
- "top secret" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Louisa Besson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2021 06:45:53 +0000
Subject: Yours Faithfully,
My Sincere Greetings,
How are you doing today? I am Mrs.Louisa Besson from France; I have decided
to donate what I have to you /Churches/ Motherless babies/Less
privileged/Widows' because I am dying and diagnosed with cancer. I have
been touched by God Almighty to donate from what I have inherited from my
late husband to you for the good work of God Almighty. I have asked
Almighty God to forgive me and believe he has, because he is a Merciful God
I will be going in for an operation soon.
I decided to donate the sum of ($8.5 million Dollars) to you for the good
work of God Almighty, and also to help the motherless and less privileged
and also for assistance of the widows. As soon as I read from you, I shall
give you info on what I need from you, then you will contact the bank and
tell them I have willed my inheritance to you by quoting my personal file
routing and account information to you for good, effective and prudent
work. I know I don't know you but I have been directed to do this by God
Please I will need you to respect my decision and keep every process of
this transfer confidential / top secret until every process is finalized,
before taking family and friends for thanksgiving. If you are interested in
carrying out this task, i will need you to get back to me and answer the
1). That you are in a position to be trusted with such a large amount of
funds, and that you have a heart for charity and thus would not have any
problems locating the right charity and human aid groups to disburse the
fund to. It would be nice to know what charities you have in mind to donate
the money to?
2). That you are willing to contact the bank holding the deposit to discuss
the terms of releasing the funds to you?
3). That you promise to respect my decision and keep every process of this
transfer confidential / top secret until every process is finalized?
4). That you fully understand this transaction and you are ready to proceed
under these terms?
I wish you all the best and May the good Lord bless you abundantly.