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:
- 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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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)
- your fund. contact name: mrs. patricia robert e-mail: email@example.com (or) firstname.lastname@example.org please note: all (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Sophia Thomas" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2023 17:07:12 -0800
Subject: Fund transfer of US$5,550,000.00 to your bank account
We wish to congratulate and inform you that after thorough
review of all unclaimed funds, lottery funds, Inheritance
and contract funds, etc. in conjunction with the auditor;s
reports sent to the united nation accounts department,
your payment file was forwarded to this office for
immediate transfer of US$5,550,000.00 to your bank
account, a compensation for your funds retarded.
The auditors reports shows that you have been going
through hard times to see the release of the fund into
your bank account, which has been by some delay dubious
We therefore advice you to stop further correspondence
with any officer or persons outside this office since you
have met up with the funds transfer requirements.
Should you follow our directives, your US$5,550,000.00
compensation will be credited to your bank account within
the next three (3) working days and copies of the fund
transfer release documents will be sent to you and your
bankers for confirmation.
For the immediate transfer of the US$5,550,000.00 to your
bank account, kindly contact Mrs. Patricia Robert today with
the below information; she will give you guidelines on how
to claim your fund.
Contact Name: Mrs. Patricia Robert
E-mail: email@example.com (OR) firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTE: All correspondences to Mrs. Patricia Robert
have the reference number: Ref: UNDR/EFD550/SE sent along
with your Full Names and Telephone numbers for prompt
Grant Payment Officer - UNDP