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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Graham S. Steele" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2022 03:32:34 -0800
Subject: Re: Notification of Payment
U.S Department of the Treasury
Address: #1500 Pennsylvania Avenue,
RE: RELEASE OF YOUR
I am Mr. Graham S. Steele, the U.S Department of the Treasury
Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, and the Chairman,
Unclaimed Fund Release committee set up to disburse/release all the
unclaimed funds to the supposed beneficiaries. After going through
some payment files in our central system, I discovered that you have
not received your long overdue funds payment for years because of some
corrupt government officials who tried to divert your funds to their
own personal use/selfish interest.
Be informed that after due consultation on your behalf regarding the
immediate release of your Approved Unclaimed Funds of Five Million Six
Hundred Thousand United States Dollars($5.6M). We have successfully
secured your Approved Unclaimed Funds to your favor and it has been
arranged for immediate release/transfer to you after careful
verification on your payment file.
You are hereby advise to reconfirm the information stated below in
this notification for further advice:
Your Full Name....................
Current Residential Address.......
Direct Phone Number...............
Age / Sex / Occupation............
Scan Copy of Your ID..............
I shall wait to hear from you with the above mentioned information to
enable us expedite action and have your approved unclaimed fund
released to you within official 7 working days.
Your urgent response is highly anticipated.
Mr. Graham S. Steele.
Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions.
Unclaimed Fund Release Committee.