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:
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Kenneth Gould" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2022 00:23:28 +0100
Subject: Re: BUSINESS PROPOSAL.
I know this email message will come as a surprise to you. I also know that this is not a very reliable medium to contact you due to the nature and sensitivity of what i am about to tell you.
While working at the apex bank of my country, I was able to move a huge sum of cash (Over Ten Million Dollars) into a secret account. I alone know about the existence of the funds. I am seeking your partnership to move the funds abroad. All paperworks about the legitimacy of the funds will be made available to you. All i am asking of you is your trust and agreement to partner with me in this venture.
As soon as we have moved the funds safely to you i will immediately travel down to meet with you. We will have to sign an agreement and memorandum of understanding on how to split the funds before the successful transfer.
I am willing to meet up with you in any country of your choice.
I eagerly wait to get a response from you.