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:
- 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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "consignment " (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: williams <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2021 03:46:39 -0700
Subject: Good News
YOUR UNPAID FUNDS TO CLAIM
We the U.S Department Of Justice is contacting you Regarding your
funds, I feel it's best and more convenient for me to explain why I am
contacting you. I'm Merrick B. Garland, AG United States Department of
Justice, I work hand with the United States Fraud Unit of the Criminal
Investigation Division (CID). I'm specialize in Background
Investigations on funds which include [COMPENSATION/ INHERITANCE
FUNDS, Consignment Box,] and I notice that you have being receiving
numerous emails from people who claims to have funds coming to you but
I advise that if you're still in communication with any of them on
issue of funds however, you're hereby advise to stop every
communication right now because those people has being investigated
and confirmed to be a Fraud.
I wish to announce our successful investigation which was carried out
few days ago; I guess it will interest you to know why this
investigation was conducted. For your information, it was truly
confirmed that you have 100% Legitimate unpaid transaction and you
have every right to claim this funds as you're been confirmed to be
the rightful owner of the said amount $55.9 Million us
I'm informing you this today because I came to notice that you're not
communicating with a legitimate person who is in charge of getting
these funds to you. This announcement has to be made open to you
however because you may have being swindled by those unscrupulous
people whom you have sent money in the course of getting one fund or
the other which is not real and for this reason, I have decided to
help you get your funds directly from the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) here in United States because your Legitimate funds remains
I want to know if you're interested in receiving your unpaid
legitimate funds value $55.9 Million usd however, I will only be of
help if you agreed to follow my instructions. If you're really
interested in receiving your unpaid $55.9 Million USD, I advise that
you get back to me immediately. All I need is your cooperation and
Please you can contact me back on my email by clicking your Reply.
Merrick B. Garland
United States Attorney General
U.S Department Of Justice
contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number:+1 256-680-7157