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 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2021 08:56:43 -0800
Subject: DEAR EMAIL OWNER
US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Good day , Dear beneficiary.
Greetings from the FBI. I have a vital information which needs to be
attended immediately. Did you authorized anyone to pick up your
inheritance fund from our Headquarter in Washington, D.C.? One Mr
Andrew Cox came to our office yesterday in-respect of your $8.5
million dollars which has been credited with us for the past 2 years
now by the Federal Government to be transferred into your account. He
said that you authorized him to pick up the fund.
This fund has been in our custody for the past two years now and we
have been waiting for you to contact us but we didnât know what is
hindering you from reaching us since. So we decided to write to you to
make sure that you are fine and aware of the inheritance fund of $8.5
million dollars in our Headquarter in Washington D.C.
We want you to get back to us with the following details:
Your identity card:
This above listed details are needed as fast as possible if you didnât
authorize anyone to pick up your fund from our Headquarter in
Mr. CHRISTOPHER A. WRAY