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:
- 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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "please endeavor to " (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)
- 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: "Mr. Charles Francis Feeney" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2021 13:36:34 +0100
Subject: $12,900,000.00 USD Donation For you and Your Family
From the desk of Mr. Charles Francis Feeney
Founder of Duty-Free Shoppers Group
Founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your details and to confirm your
reliability in this donation. What is the update between you and Mr.
Alan Smith Citibank manager, regarding your donation funds worth
[$12.900,000,00 MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS] permit to your name. I
have decided to use my bank Citibank (111 Wall Street New York) to
disburse this money to your position.
Therefore, I have issued out a bank draft of [$12.900,000,00 MILLION
UNITED STATES DOLLARS] in your name through my attorney Mrs. Hilda
Williams, which has been sent for deposit with my bank in Citibank
(111 wall Street New York), the Bank is authorized to conclude the
disbursement of the funds via ATM CARD or Bank Draft Check or via Bank
Wire Transfer to any Bank account of your choice.
You are hereby advised to keep this donation strictly confidential
until your claim has been fully recovered before you can share the
good news. Kindly contact the bank for instructions on the wire
Contact Person Regional Director: Mr. Alan Smith
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Service Center 111 Wall Street New York
Please note that upon your contact with Mr. Alan Smith, you are to
provide him with your Full Name so he can verify you with information
sent to him already. Please endeavor to keep me fully informed on all
developments with the bank so that I can also monitor the transfer the
process through feedback from you.
Mr. Charles Francis Feeney