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:
- "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)
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "is highly confidential" (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MOW&H" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2021 07:11:05 +0200
Subject: CONTRACT SUM
My name is Mr. Geoffrey Mudenzi" a senior government official in
department of Public Works & Infrastructure here in South Africa, I am
the Chief of Staff in charge for contract awards / execution. also the
supervisor of all contracts in Department Of Public Works &
Infrastructure. In 2019 before the (Pandemic), I personally monitored
and supervised the awarded contracts for supplies of building
materials and constructions of ultra modern shopping malls, low cost
housing units, airports maintenance and Stadiums to Improve the
standard of living in this country, In the Eastern Cape, Western Cape,
Natal and Gauteng provinces here in South Africa.
My colleague and I serving in the board deliberately inflated and over
invoiced the contract sum, leaving an excess of US$30, 000,000.00
(Thirty Million United States Dollars Only). At the completion of the
contracts, the real contract sum was paid to the original contractors,
leaving the excess, which we reported to the Government that it
belonged to the sub-contractor that handled part of the original
contract. But the company we submitted as the beneficiary was
non-existing foreign company, which was a purported attempt by us to
divert the money for our private use. I do not intend to mince words
with you, I have to tell you the truth; this is a deal but completely
risk-free and genuine because the contract has been perfectly and
genuinely executed and completed. It depends on whether you are
interested or not.
Right now this amount is due for payment and is floating in the
treasury not attached to anyone/company. We are only two people who
know the origin of this fund. But we cannot claim it by ourselves
because we are civil servants therefore we are looking for a
trustworthy foreign company / individual whose name can be used to
claim this money for our mutual benefit.
This is strictly a business deal, but itâs completely risk-free and
secure because we will use our official positions to source all the
necessary approvals, official documents and certificates that will
back up the fund to reflect that you/your company genuinely executed
and completed the contract. All necessary arrangements have been put
in place in all the relevant departments for immediate approval of
For your co-operation, we have agreed to offer you 2.5% of the entire
amount on conclusion of the transaction while 75% will be for us.
Please if you are interested in this proposal, I want you to respond
immediately through my personal e-mail account stated below for
further information and directives.
This transaction is expected to be completed within 5 or 8 work days
and is highly confidential and discreet. Thank you for your
co-operation. Your urgent reply is awaited through my private email
Mr. Geoffrey Mudenzi.
Private Email: email@example.com
(Department Of Public Works)