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)
- 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: "SAFIYA GADDAFI" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2021 03:39:29 -0700
Greetings, I am the wife of the ex-Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the former and late leader of
Libya Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who was betrayed and embattled by Libyan
and murdered by the Libyan rebels which led to his untimely death.
Since then, me and my children has been on travel ban, no access to
bank accounts and we have been rendered homeless and at the same time we are
under threat and we are not allowed to
invest or operate bank account. I wrote this letter because
I need you to help me to secure some of my family funds, the sum of $100 Million that is deposited by my late husband in different security
companies abroad which is no longer safe under the name of my late
husband therefore I urgently need your help to transfer the amount to your bank account
and ones we start, first, the beneficiary name should be
immediately changed from my late husband name to your name through my
I promise to make you richer by offering you 30% of the total amount
that can be secured through your help and in each transactions successfully
completed by you and if you can assist me, we must work in confidentiality therefore I want
you to please keep this as a greater secret.
In your response, I want you to provide me with your particulars as
listed below because it will be used by my lawyers to make change of
ownership of funds to your name:
1) Your full name.
2) Home or office Address.
3) Land Telephone and mobile phone numbers.
4) Your Age.
5) Your gender/Sex.
6) Your Occupation.
7) Any form of Identification.
Please contact me on my secured email address: email@example.com for more information.