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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- 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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Katie Brianna Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2021 01:13:22 -0800
I am Katie Brianna Taylor and I am American soldier attached to the UN
peacekeeping force in Syria. I am the commanding officer of the third
Battalion soldier regime. As you may know, everyday there are several cases
of insurgent attacks and suicide bombs going on here. We have managed to
move funds belonging to some demised persons who were attacked and killed
through these attacks.
The total amount is US$196 Million dollars in cash, which we shared among
ourselves and I got US$8.5 million dollars as my own share of the fund.
Now my mission here in Syria will expire in the middle of next month for me
to leave this camp and if I do not ship out the fund; I might end up losing
it, because as an army officer, we have no right to take anything from the
War zone, nor we are allowed to make calls or to make financial
I want to move this money to you, so that you can help keep my share for me
until when I shall come over to meet you. I will take 70%, while you take
30%. No strings attached! Just to help me move it out of Syria; which is a
war zone right now.
I plan on using a Diplomatic courier and shipping the money out in a
wrapped big envelope, using diplomatic immunity.
If you are interested, I will send you the full details.
Can I trust you for this?
Please signify your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax
numbers, home address, city with identity card or passport picture.
Note that this business is risk free.
The wrapped envelope can be placed in a box or briefcase and shipped out to
reach you within 72 hours. Please If you are Interested in assisting,
PLEASE, TREAT THIS PROPOSAL AS TOP SECRET.
Sergeant Katie Brianna Taylor.