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:
- 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)
- "service 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. )
- "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)
- "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 mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: Barr Williams Aliwo <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2021 13:07:18 -0700
Subject: Dear Friend
Longest time, How are you today, I hope you are doing fine? It is with
great pleasure to inform you that I have succeeded in getting the
whole funds transferred through the help of another partner from
California USA. Presently, I am in Mexico, I left California last
Monday with my own share of the total funds to Mexico for an
investment project, but I did`t forget your past efforts and attempts
to assist me that time despite that it failed us. I dropped an ATM
Master Card worth $2.500,000.00 USD to my secretary as your
compensation for your past efforts and attempted to assist me that
Kindly contact my secretary in Nigeria Mr. Felix Udo, with this email
Call him if possible after sending him an email on this line:
+23488162731392. Then arrange with him on how to receive your ATM
Master card immediately because I passed every instruction to him to
send the ATM master card to you as soon as you contact him. Presently
I am so busy here because of the investment project I have at hand in
Mexico and mostly find it difficult this time to access my email.
So, feel free to contact my Secretary in Nigeria, Mr. Felix Udo, I
left an instruction for him to send the ATM Master Card to you as soon
as you contact him, Meanwhile remember to re-confirm your full
information to him and also send him the delivering fee of $200 USD
only, I have paid for every other things.I did not pay for the courier
service fee just because I don`t know the company you may prefer for
Contact him on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barr Williams Aliwo Esq.