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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Aisha Gaddafi <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2021 17:09:35 +0000
Subject: Dear Friend
How are you doing today, I came across your e-mail contact prior a private
search while in need of your assistance. I hope my mail meet you in good
condition of health? Dear I have decided to contact you after much thought
considering the fact that we have not meet before, but because of some
circumstance obliged me, I decided to contact you due to the urgency of my
present situation here in the refugee camp for your rescue and also for a
business venture/project which I need your assistant in this business
establishment in your country as my foreign partner as well as my legal
I am Aisha Muammar Gaddafi, the only daughter of the embattled president of
Libya, Hon. Muammar Gaddafi. Am a single Mother and a Widow with three
Children. I am currently residing in BURKINA FASO unfortunately as a
refugee. I am writing this mail with tears and sorrow from my heart asking
for your urgent help. I have passed through pains and sorrowful moment
since the death of my late father.
At the meantime, my family is the target of Western nations led by Nato who
wants to destroy my father at all costs. Our investments and bank accounts
in several countries are their targets to freeze. My Father of blessed
memory deposited the sum of eighteen million, Two Hundred Thousand,
Dollars ($18.200.000.00) in Bank Of Africa bank in Burkina Faso here which
he used my name as the next of kin. I have been commissioned by the Bank to
present an interested foreign investor/partner who can stand as my trustee
and receive the fund in his account for a possible investment in his
country due to my refugee status here in Burkina Faso.
I am in search of an honest and reliable person who will help me and stand
as my trustee so that I will present him to the Bank for the transfer of
the fund to his bank account overseas. I have chosen to contact you after
my prayers and I believe that you will not betray my trust. But rather take
me as your own sister or daughter. I am willing to negotiate investment
/business profit sharing ratio with you base on the future investment
earning profits. Apologetic for my pictures I will enclose it in my next
mail and more about me when I hear from you okay.
best regard Yours Sincerely.