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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: fund office <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2021 04:12:50 +0100
Subject: Barrister Datti Williams
Hello My Dear Friend,
How are you and your family? I hope everybody is fine. I am happy to inform
you that i did later by the grace of God completed the transaction
successfully with another partner.
The total fund was transferred to the new partner that i presented to the
bank. Now I am outside my country due to the urgency for investment project
with my New partner. However, I did not forget your past efforts and
assistance to me to see that the funds was approved with the bank, So, I
have given to My Secretary Mr. Tom Bello an ATM CARD that contains the sum
of US$2,,000.000 (Two Million Dollars)
Please, accept this token of appreciation and God bless you.
Below is the contact details of My Secretary Mr. Tom Bello
Name: Mr. Tom Bello
You should contact him at your earliest convenient so that the ATM CARD can
be sent to you, so that you can withdraw from your international bank ATM
I wish you the best in all your future endeavors. I will also call you
at my earliest convenient.
Your brother and partner,
Barrister Datti Williams
NB: Remember to put this 8- lettered word ("GRACE-771") as the subject
of your email so that he will know that you are the rightful beneficiary of
the ATM CARD.