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:
- 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 us 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Kunio Uematsu" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2021 20:37:41 -0700
Subject: Dearest Beloved !!!
Dearest Beloved, As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me...=
....because......I believe everyone will die someday. I have been diagnosed=
with esophageal cancer. It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and=
right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical exp=
erts. The situation has gotten complicated recently with my inability to he=
ar or speak (being deaf and dump now). I have not particularly lived my lif=
e so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my busi=
ness. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to =
people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared f=
or. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than=
just wanting to have or make all the money in the world. I have willed and=
given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family m=
embers as well as a few close friends. I have decided to give also to chari=
ty organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on e=
arth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the=
U.A.E, Algeria, Malaysia and some countries in Africa. Now that my health =
has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once asked me=
mbers of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money whi=
ch I have there to charity organization in Europe; they refused and kept th=
e money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not=
to be contended with what I have left for them. The last of my money which=
no one knows of is the huge cash sum of Forty-Five Million US Dollars (US$=
45,000,000.00) that I deposited sometime ago in an offshore account as I op=
erated my business there before my sickness. I will want you to help me col=
lect these deposited funds and use the funds to help the orphans, less priv=
ileged, handicapped persons, homeless, refugees, other charity organization=
s and do other good humanitarian works. You shall only collect 25% of the f=
unds for your reward for your time and also any expenses that you might inc=
ur during this great task. PLEASE SEND YOUR RESPONSE TO ME WITH YOUR DETAIL=
ED INFORMATION AND IDENTIFICATION SO THAT I CAN FORWARD TO THE BANK WHERE F=
UND IS DEPOSITED. Regards, Kunio Uematsu (Japan) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org=