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)
- 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: Alexander Dickens <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2021 03:44:17 -0800
Subject: I WILL WAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
Address: London W1u 6rp, United Kingdom
My name is Alexander Dickens, an accounts manager with National Commercial
Bank London. I retrieved your email address in my search on the internet
for a reliable and trustworthy person that I can transact with.
I was the Account Officer to Late Engineer James who died of COVID 19 six
Before his death, he had an investment deposit with my bank totaling the
sum of $47,500, 000.00 (FORTY SEVEN MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND U.S.
Late Engineer James lost his wife and two children in an auto crash three
All efforts made by our Bank to locate his relatives have been unsuccessful
so I decided to write to you as I have monitored this account in the bank
for a year and three month now and no one has come forth with any claim.
The last time I visited him in the hospital before his death, he
confidently told me that 50% of the total deposit in my Bank will be given
to an orphanage, but he did not say anything about the remaining 50%.
Reply via my private email address at: for further clarification.
If your response is positive stating you are interested in working with me,
I will provide you with my private cell phone number so that we could have
a confidential conversation.
Please also be kind enough to get back to me if you are not interested.