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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: James Morris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2022 13:34:29 -0800
Happy New Year to you and your family. How are you today? Hope all is well
with you and your family? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect
condition. I am using this opportunity to inform you that the
multi-million-dollar business has been concluded with another person who
financed it to a logical conclusion.
I thank you for your great effort for our unfinished transfer of funds into
your account due to one reason or the other best known to you. I want to
inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out of the bank to
a new partner's account in China that was capable of assisting me in this
great venture. Due to your effort,sincerity,courage and trustworthiness you
showed during the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and
show my gratitude to you with the sum of $1,800,000.00.
I have left an international certified bank draft for you worth
$1,800,000.00 cashable anywhere in the world with my Rev. Father ( Rev.
Father Johnson Ugwu ). My dear friend, I would like you to contact him for
the bank draft, I have authorized him to release the international
certified bank draft to you as soon as you contact him regarding this
issue. At the moment, I am very busy here in China for investment with my
Please I would like you to accept this token with good faith as this is
from the bottom of my heart. Also comply with Rev. Father Johnson Ugwu so
that he will send the draft to you without any delay, contact him on the
below contact information:
Name: Rev. Father Johnson Ugwu, MSP
Email: ( email@example.com
Address: Christ the King Catholic Church, South Africa.
Barrister James Morris.