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:
- "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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2021 18:40:43 +0100
Subject: Dear Beneficiary,
United States Postal Service
New York, NY, USA
Call Or Text +1 (585) 245-03
Open Closes 5:30PM
The management of this company wishes to inform you that we received a
parcel containing Your ATM VISA Card valued $4.5Million United States
Dollars Only, for safety delivery to your residential address.
This parcel was brought to us by the Visa Card payment office Benin
Republic for your Winnings and compensation released by African leaders
following the series of petitions by the World Bank and US Treasury
Department for their failure in paying all the beneficiaries their long
overdue winnings, inheritance and compensation.
Please reconfirm the below information to us to avoid a wrongful delivery.
(1) YOUR Full names............
(2) YOUR Parcel owner address......
(3) YOUR Country/State..............
(4) YOUR Cell Number...........
We will register your package and send you the tracking before we proceed
for safety delivery of your package as soon as you reconfirm the required
information for safety delivery.
Contact Mrs Kathy Potter for your package tracking number via email
Further to this update, you are required to comply with the delivery and
insurance fee/charges of the sum of $285 (Two Hundred and Fifty United
States of American Dollars only, so that we can obtain all the necessary
documents required for the immediate delivery of your parcel.
Yours Faithfully Gary Frizell,
Director USPS Office NewYork.