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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Mavis Wanczyk." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2022 22:22:37 -0800
Subject: Your donation code is: AUG/SEP-207162DN
Hello Dear Friend,
My name is Mrs. Mavis Wanczyk, the mega winner of $758 Million in Powerball
Jackpot; I decided to donate to 5 random individuals. If you get this email
then your email was selected after a spin ball. I have spread most of my
wealth over a number of charities and organizations. I have voluntarily
decided to donate the sum of $750,000.00 USD to you as one of the selected
5, you can verify my winnings via YouTube page below:
Click the link to watch me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?vWnqvJM1mM
Your donation code is: AUG207162DN
To claim your donation, reply yes with your Donation Code to my private
Hope to make you and your family happy.
Mrs. Mavis L. Wanczyk.