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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "transfer into your 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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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 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: "ALBERT IDIAKA" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2021 14:09:57 +0200
Subject: QUEST FOR INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP 7/7/2021
I Am Idiaka Albert, an Accountant with the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC). I Also headed A Seven-Man Tenders Board in charge of
Contract Awards and Payment Approvals. I am contacting you to handle a
very confidential transaction which involves the transfer of a huge Sum
of money to a Foreign Account.
Firstly, I want to crave your indulgence to handle this proposal with
utmost secrecy and give it the urgency it deserves
Sometimes in 2018, there were series of Contracts Executed by a
Consortium of Multi-Nationals in the Oil Industry in favor of my
Corporation, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,NNPC. The Original
Value of this Contracts was deliberately over-invoiced for our personal
use. Please, note that the Companies that Actually Executed these
Contracts have been fully paid and the Projects Officially
My Colleagues And I Are Willing To Transfer The the over invoiced Amount
To Your Account For Subsequent Disbursement, Since We, Civil Servants
Are Prohibited By law From Operating Foreign Accounts In Our Names.
Needless To Say, The Trust Reposed On You At This Juncture Is Enormous.
It is the Over Invoiced which is currently in the suspense account of my
Corporation (NNPC) that I and my colleague have agreed to transfer into
your account for Investment purpose. Based on this,I am asked by my
colleague to seek your assistance for an Offshore account in this
At the successful transfer of the funds, it will shared on an agreed
percentage between me and my colleague on one side and you on the other
side. Is more important to us is to get the funds transferred out of
this country into a foreign account after we can meet.
Please, indicate your willingness by contacting me through my private
email address (email@example.com ) for more details / plans.