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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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: "Mrs.Gift Brown" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2021 02:29:55 -0800
Subject: GOOD NEWS
Hello Dear Good Friend is me Mrs.Gift Brown !!
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope
this mail finds you in an excellent condition of health. But if you do
not remember me, you have received an email from me in the past
regarding a confidential business proposal which we never concluded. I
am using this opportunity to inform you that the business has been
concluded with another Merchant who financed it to a logical
I thank you for your great effort towards our unfinished
transaction,due to one reason or the other best to known you at that
time. Due to the effort, sincerity, and trustworthiness you showed
during the course of the transaction, we want to compensate you with
your percentage and show our gratitude to you with the sum of Eight
Million, Seven hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars.I have
left an international ATM CARD for you, worth USD$8,750,000.00
withdrew anywhere in the world.
My dear friend Feel free to contact Mr Hartman Eric Jr,so that he will
release the Atm to you. At the moment,I'm very busy and will like you
to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my
heart. Below is his contact information.
Contact Person Name: Mr Hartman Eric Jr. (Account Officer).
Therefore, you should contact him and ask him to release the Atm to
you because I have instructed him to do so.