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:
- "million united states 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 business is hitch free " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "@diplomats.com" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "George" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 2022 09:01:41 -0000
Subject: FROM: GEORGE OWEN
Standard Bank South Africa
2 Heerengracht Towers,
Hans Strijdom Avenue
Cape Town City Centre
Dear Sir / Madam,
I know this letter might come to you as surprises as we have never met
before. My name is Mr. George Owen, the director in charge of Auditing and
Accounting Unit of Standard Bank, South Africa. I and my colleague, hope
that you will not expose or betray this trust and confidant that I am
about to introduce to you for the mutual benefit of our both families. I
am writing in respect of MR. MATHY REINHOLD, a foreign customer of our
Bank who perished along with his next of kin with Ethiopian Airlines
Flight 302, flight number 801 with the whole passengers on 10th of March
2019. Open and view the
Since the demise of this our customer, I personally has watched with keen
interest to see the next of kin but all has proved abortive as none has
come to claim his funds of $15, 000, 000.00 (Fifteen Million United States
Dollars), which has been with our branch for a very long time. On this
note, I decided to seek for whom his name shall be used as the Next of Kin
since nobody is coming for the fund again. In view of this I got your
contact through the Internet when I was doing research on a foreigner that
I will use in this great opportunity because I dont want the money to be
recalled to our Bank treasury as unclaimed funds. We have also agreed to
offer you 40% of the total sum and the rest 60% will be for me and my
The reason for a foreigner in the Business is for the fact that the
deceased man was a foreigner and it is not authorized by the law guiding
our Bank for a citizen of this country to make the claim of the fund. So
the request of you as a foreigner is necessary to apply for the release
and transfer of the funds smoothly into your reliable Bank Account as the
Surviving Relation to the deceased, if you are really sure of your
integrity, trustworthy, and confidentiality, and accept not to cheat or
disappoint us after this business.
I will send you by fax or e-mail the next procedure to follow in order to
execute this transaction, and I will not fail to bring to your notice that
this business is hitch free and doesn't have any negative impact. You
should not entertain any fear as all modalities for the smooth and easy
transfer of this fund have been finalized; this transaction will be
completed within seven (7) bank working days immediately we start the
We waits for your urgent response and please kindly delete if you are not
Mr. George Owen