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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr.Gregory V.Wood." <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2022 13:29:12 +0100
Subject: ATTN: Sir/Madam,
I am sorry for invading your privacy. My name is Dr.Gregory V Wood I
am from USA but currently in India. I have been a successful
businessman for the past 20 years, my business interests has spanned
the sectors of metals, oil and precious stones in Asia, Africa and
Europe, during this time, I have amassed a lot of wealth but recently
I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It has defiled all forms of
medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to
live. I am very rich, but was never generous; I have given most of my
assets to my immediate family members but my mind is not at peace
since I have a dream of giving back to the society and helping the
needy in our world.
During these Easter period, I dedicated myself to the almighty God and i
have been deeply touched, I have decided to give alms and donations
to charity organisations. I cannot do this myself anymore because of
my health. I once asked members of my family to give some money to
charity organisations, they refused and kept the money for themselves
that made my health heavy and uneasy. I have a huge cash deposit in a
secured bank since 2010. I will want you to help me collect this
deposit and dispatch it to charity organisations for charity work
under your supervision. You will take out 20% of these funds for your
assistance. Please answer these questions.
 Full Names:
 Your Country:
 Direct Telephone
 Date of birth: