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:
- 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:
- "registration 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. )
- "consignment " (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)
- "million united state 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned 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: Mary Beth Leonard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2022 23:47:14 -0700
Subject: Office of the US Ambassador to Nigeria.//
Office of the US Ambassador to Nigeria
11 Garki road Abuja
I am 100% sure you have had bitter experience with various scam
activities claiming to be high government officials defrauding people
of their hard earned money and the activities of those scammers has
changed your perspective about conducting business on the internet and
you now believes there is no genuine business that can be conducted on
The internet was created by Americans for the purpose of creating,
awareness for your products/ services and conducting genuine business
and I am fully committed to deliver the diplomatic consignment to you.
I'm a citizen of the United States but I was on a mission here in
Nigeria as a US Ambassador to Nigeria. Hence, I am making every effort
to ensure that no citizen of the United States will be cheat by
Therefore, I need your support and understanding to actualize this
dream, I also want you to understand that I do trust you and I expect
you to show me the same trust and respect in return since trust is a
2-way street. On the other hands.
I will be sending your ATM CARD worth of ($1.5, MILLION UNITED STATE
DOLLARS) Via Courier Service.
(Send your Whats-App phone number and your delivery address were you
want your ATM CARD) to be delivered. You have really paid so much in
this delivery that makes me wonder. You are a very lucky person
because your CARD must surely gets to you and there is nothing anyone
can do about it, your ATM CARD worth of ($1.5, MILLION UNITED STATE
The cost of registering it is $150 fee must be paid in the next few
days so that all necessary arrangement can be made before time. Kindly
reply me immediately for the registration fee.
Await your urgent reply.
Mary Beth Leonard,
Us Ambassador To Nigeria.