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:
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Iselbella Zhang" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2022 11:56:45 +0100
Subject: Dear Beneficiary :
This is Benin postal courier service, my name is Mrs. Iselbella Zhang,
would like to inform you that the United Nations (UN) compensates those who
have unclaimed funds and your information was found in the list of
unclaimed funds. The post office has been commissioned by the UN to deliver
your compensation fund with a Visa ATM card value of Five Million Five
Hundred United States Dollars ($5.5 million) to your residence address.
We have investigated and found that you are the rightful owner.
However, we have concluded to send you your own Five Million Five Hundred
US Dollars ($5.5 million) Visa ATM Card to your residence address. We may
not be able to send your Visa ATM card with your email address alone, so we
need your information to avoid misdelivery.
Full name :
Parcel Owner's Address:
Copy Of Your Identity:
Contact the director:
Name: Dr Murphy Nobert
Email address: (email@example.com)
We will start registering your package and send you the tracking number
before proceeding to secure delivery of your package as soon as you
reconfirm the information required for secure delivery.
La Poste is one of the world's great success stories, the start-up that has
revolutionized parcel and information delivery over the past 30 years. We
have grown into a diverse family of post offices that are bigger, stronger
and better than ever.
Mrs Iselbella Zhang.