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:
- 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:
- "a diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: chris watts <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2021 13:38:42 +0100
Subject: GOOD DAY
My name is Chris Watts a diplomat mandated to deliver your
inheritance to you in your country of residence. The total funds to be
delivered to you is $17.5 Million and you were made the beneficiary of
the funds by a benefactor whose details I will be revealing to you
when I arrive at your residence with the fund, in accordance with the
agreement I signed with him when he enlisted my assistance
to deliver the fund to you.
I am presently at JFK International Airport in the United States of
America, but before I can proceed with my flight to your city to
deliver your lugage, I would like you to confirm the following
This is to ensure that I am dealing with the right person due to the
high level of mistaken identities over the internet. Please do not
hesitate in responding to this email to enable me proceed promptly
with the delivery of your fund to you.
I am waiting for your prompt response with the required information.