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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transaction is risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. John Walker" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2021 12:04:12 +0200
Subject: RE: Investment Inquiry,
I am Mr. John Walker, I am a business consultant based in Accra Ghana.
I am being consulted by some Libya business men who want me to assist
them to arrange for partners who will work with them to get their
funds out Accra Ghana
The funds in question is the sum of US$750 Million which they are
ready to share with you in the ratio of 50% for you which I will take
10% from your share of the money while they will take 50% to
If this business is positive to you, I will like you to kindly send me
your full name, your telephone and mobile number and also your full
Please be aware that you will be required to come down to Accra Ghana.
For a round table discussion and also to enable you enter into
agreement with the Libyan business men.
I am looking forward to hear from you so as to enable us make a
positive move for your coming.
Please note that this transaction is risk free.
Expecting to hear from you,
Mr. John Walker.