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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Andrew Henderson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 2021 06:50:31 -0700
Subject: Partnership Proposal
Please note that the use of this medium of such matter is for
I am Mr. Andrew Henderson, The Private Accountant and Auditor of the
reputable Bank in my Country. Your reputation/ profile motivated me to
contact you for a possible partnership in commissionable benefits.
I need your service/assistance in a confidential matter regarding the
transfer of the sum amount of money worth Forty Million United States
An investor and a former contractor with the Kruger diamond mines died
due to COVID-19 related without naming the legal next of kin to his
fund in my bank. The amount is Forty Million United State Dollars
($40M-USD) and banking regulation legislation in my country demand
that I notify the fiscal authorities after 12 calendar months.
Further details will be given upon your response or reply indicating
your interest. Below is my personal contact detail for our further
oral communication. Also furnish with me your private telephone
numbers and alternative private email address if any, for confidential
Send your reply to my private email address
(email@example.com) with your full names, contact details,
and contact address, if interested and able to assist/render the
Mr. Andrew Henderson