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:
- "money gram" (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. )
- "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)
- "money order " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: usapostoffice custormercare <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2021 03:02:24 -0700
Subject: GOOD NEWS,
I am Mr. Megan Brennan Director general of United States Postal
Service, Postal service company (USPS) We have been waiting for you to
contact us for your parcel that was registered with us by IMF for
shipment to your residential address. We thought that the sender gave
you our contact details. It may be interesting you to know that a
letter is also added to your parcel,
However, we cannot quote the content to you via email for security
reasons. We understand that the content of your parcel itself is a
money order worth $100,000.00 US Dollars), in two(2) envelopes for
each money order copy all in the envelope. Text me urgently with your
address, full name and email address and also send email to below
We have 3 options on easy way to make the payment of delivery;
1) By PayPal
2) By Money Gram
3) By Gift Card
let me know the easier one you choose, so that once we confirm the
needed fee, Your package will be registered for delivery immediately.
phone:+(681-299-1268 text only
Note: it will cost you $50 for our mailing service which you will send
to us to avoid any type of delays.
Mr. Megan Brennan
Director General of United States Postal Service.
Office Address 5675 CAROLINA BEACH RD WILMINGTON, NC 28412-3629.