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:
- 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:
- ",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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: John Monk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2021 00:18:14 +0100
Subject: BE A MIDLEMAN
Please permit me to introduce myself. My name is John Monk. I earn a
living in the oil industry as an independent Feasibility/Project
Management Consultant to oil refineries and other oil industries in
Southern African, East Africa and some parts of Asia. We are based in
Johannesburg RSA. Our mandate includes identifying specific licensed
crude oil export/ marketing firms and recommending these firms to the
oil refineries for supply of crude oil to the refineries.
On my desk is a mandate from one the refineries to arrange for crude
oil purchase from Libya for up to 2,000,000 barrels on monthly bases
for 12 calendar months.
The essence of my reaching out to you is the fact that am in the
process of building a middle man structure to mediate between the 2
parties involved before the contract is signed. You may be wondering
why I cannot do it by myself right? The honest fact is that as a
consultant to these oil refineries, we are not allowed to act as
suppliers of crude oil to them as well, hence the reason I need a
trustworthy person outside my work circle in order to maintain a
I wish to extend this partnership to you my friend to build a middle
man structure with you, while I work from the back to guide you. Our
commission/brokerage as middle persons is between $2 - $3 per barrel
as case may be. So if the target of 2M barrels is met monthly we stand
to share $4M - $6M every month for a span of 12 months with possible
Worry less about the speedy sales as I have contacts within oil
producing country's top officials for license of crude oil
export/lifting to any firm I so present for this business. Therefore
if you can be able to handle this transaction with honesty and
integrity, you should come back to me immediately for more details.
Your urgent response is highly needed