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:
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "huge sum of money" (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.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Army Lewis." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2021 10:31:39 +0100
Subject: RECEIVE YOUR MONEY 1
Hello My Dear
This is to bring to your notice that my office has taking over all the
money Transaction originated from any part of African/ Europe and Asia
counties etc. as Contract payment, Fund inheritance or Lottery
Winning, ATM Debit cards, henceforth commercial banks, Security
Companies, ATM Credit and Debit Union including any offshore payment
centers are no more authorized to handle release of funds due to
Unauthorized/incapability of financial Institutions/security companies
in releasing such huge sum of money due to Fraud, terrorist and money
Laundry activities going on world.
I write to inform you that we have already sent you $5000.00 dollars
through MONEY GRAM PAYMENT as we have been given the mandate to
transfer your payment total sum of $3.6 Million,via MONEY GRAM by this
All you will do is to contact MONEY GRAM PAYMENT director Bruce
Barkery, ask him to give the Text Question and Answer so that you will
pick your first payment of the $5,000usd, He will give you direction
on how you will be receiving the funds daily.
Phone number: +229 69725457
Email, ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Contact them here, email@example.com
Your payment of $5000 is ready.
sender s Name: John Ojadi
AMOUNT SEND: $5000 (available to pick up)
Remember to send him your Full information to avoid wrong transfer
such as, Full ' Name_______________
Phone Number: _____________
Regards, yours in service Mrs Army Lewis.