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:
- "mtcn" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "processing fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Florence Elem" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2022 07:10:50 +0100
Subject: I hope life is treating you nicely? If yes, I'm glad
We have sent you several mail regarding your fund $4.500,000.00 but no
reply. I understand that you do not want to continue to receive your
fund $4.500,000.00 because of the fee $50.00, I will request that you
give me a power of attorney to granting me authorization to terminate
your funds $4.500,000.00, please write to the AUTHORITY to let them
know that your withdraw interest on your fund, I will inform the HIGH
COURT OF JUSTICE and them change fund ownership.
Please confirm to us if you are willing to receive your money and
update us immediately with our processing fee of $50.00 only, no
hidden fee after this processing charge of $50.00 only.
Below is our receiver detail:
Receiver name ----- Friday Emeka
Receiver Country ----- Benin Republic
City ----- Nikki
Address ----- BP 593 George Road Akpakpa nikki Benin Republic
Amount ----- $50.00
Sender's name -----
Senders Country -----
Please do not allow anybody to deceive you, and I expect your response
together with payment of $50.00 today, and make sure you conclude
these or your fund will be terminated by the High Authority and that
is all I can say for now.
As soon as we confirm the payment of $50.00 you shall receive your
fund within 48 hours, remember to send the $50.00.
My regard to your family
Mrs. Florence Elem
Minister of Foreign Affairs.