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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "security keeping fee" (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. )
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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: Gabriel Morrison <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2021 23:58:18 +0100
Subject: YOUR RESPONSE IS HIGHLY NEEDED
I am pleased to inform you of my success in transferring these funds
with the cooperation of a new partner. I am currently in Vietnam for
investment projects with my share of the total amount. Meanwhile, I
have not forgotten your past efforts to help me transfer these funds
despite all the delay.
I am pleased to inform you that I have left a prepaid debit card (ATM)
in your name that contains the amount of $1,250,000.00 USD(One Million
Two hundred and fifty thousand United state dollars).
I deposited the ATM card with Global Express Courier Service in your
name for immediate delivery. I paid the shipping costs, except for the
Security Keeping fee. I tried to pay, but they do not accept, because
they do not know when you will get in touch with them and in case of
any demurrage. For this reason, Global Express Courier normally
requires a Security Keeping fee before the start of delivery.
Therefore, you must contact the Global Express Courier Service with
your name and address to deliver the ATM card to your address. Contact
person: Mr.Harry Jacob, email:firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, I will not have the opportunity to check my email
regularly due to the investment projects that I and the new partner
have on hand. Therefore, you must contact the Global Express courier
service to obtain the necessary delivery arrangements and try to
cooperate with them to send the ATM card.