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:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "money gram" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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)
- contact. contact person : mr. ewen stevenson email : email@example.com regards, agent david m. hardy email: (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION(FBI)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2021 16:34:42 +0100
OFFICIAL LETTER FROM
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION(FBI)
FROM AGENT DAVID M. HARDY.
Re: ( â¬5,000,000.00 EURO ) FOR BEING SCAM VICTIM.
To: Beneficiary ,
This is FBI special agents, David M.Hardy. I was delegated along side
others by the United Nations to come over to Africa to investigate
fraudsters who had been in the business of swindling foreigners
especially those that has one form of transaction / contracts and
Please be informed that in the course of our investigation,we detected
that your name and details in our Scammed Monitoring Network. We also
found out that you were scammed of your hard earn money by impostors
via different transfer money agents, such as Western Union, World
Remit, RIA and Money Gram. Be informed here that in a bid to alleviate
the suffering of scammed victims, the United Nations initiated this
compensation program and therefore, you are entitled to the sum of
Five Million United States Dollars (â¬5,000,000.00 EURO) for being a
Note that the said fund will be officially released to you through Mr.
Ewen Stevenson,Group Chief Financial Officer HSBC Bank UK London,as
mandated by the United Nations through Certified Bank Draft which is
presently in his position.
However, we have to inform you that we have been able to arrest some
of the swindlers who has been in this illicit business and will all be
prosecuted accordingly. Be informed as well that we have limited time
to stay back here, so we will advice that you urgently respond to this
message ASAP. And do not inform any of the people that collected money
from you before now about this new development to avoid jeopardizing
All you need to do is to follow our instruction and receive your
compensation funds accordingly as directed by the United Nations.
Kindly contact Mr. Ewen Stevenson Group Chief Financial Officer HSBC
Bank on his email contact.
contact person : Mr. Ewen Stevenson
Email : email@example.com
Agent David M. Hardy
FBI INVESTIGATION ON ALL FOREIGN PAYMENT.