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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Kristalina" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2022 10:31:13 -0700
Subject: COVID-19 Debt Service Relief:
COVID-19 Financial Assistance and Debt Service Relief:
Since the outbreak of the corona virus, We have approved the sum of
$21,500,000.00 only to settle victims of COVID 19, terrorism, scam and
During the raffle random draws on COVID 19, your email and name was among those
that were selected to receive the sum of $6,000 000 (six Million
Dollars) in compensation for all victims of corona virus pandemics,
scam victims, natural disasters, terrorism victims and Please bear
All of sudden, we received notice from someone claiming that you are
DEAD and that She is your only surviving Next of Kin and to this
effect she has presented an account where the fund will be transferred
immediately as stated below.
In this regard, this office will like to confirm from you if actually
you are DEAD or NOT, we are ready to affect the payment as ordered
by Our Payment Board, if proper attention is not given by you after 10
days of this letter counting from the date of dispatch without hearing
ARE YOU REALLY DEAD OR ALIVE?
Contact Name: Johnson Douglas
The IMF Director Finance Department.
IMF Managing Director