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)
- ",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)
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Frank Williams <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2023 04:15:57 -0800
Subject: Dear Friend,
I am very sorry for the unsolicited email, I am Mr. Frank Williams and I am
the director of the contract award committee.
After due deliberation, I have decided to forward to you this business
proposal. As I want a reliable person who will assist me to receive the sum
of Sixty Two Million Five Hundred United States Dollars Only
($62,500,000.00) from the Finance company that is in control of these
funds, and also possibly help me to invest the money on my behalf. Reason I
come out openly to deal with you is because I want to build a business
relationship with you. I donât just want to deal with everybody or send
messages without knowing who I am dealing with, and also I trust that you
will be an honest and trustworthy person to handle the affair of this
This fund resulted from an over-invoiced bill from contracts awarded by my
committee under the budget allocation to my Ministry and this bill has been
approved for payment by the concerned Ministries years back.
The contract has since been executed, commissioned and the contractor was
paid the actual cost of the contract amount agreed on. I am left with the
balance US$62,500,000.00 as part of my own share of the over-invoiced
amount which I have deliberately over estimated for my own investment
through you as my partner..
Furthermore please let me know if you are willing to partner with me as I
will give you 30% of the total amount, which is $18,750,000.00 United
Let me know if you are willing to partner with me to enable me to send full
details and some documents relating to these funds.
Inclusion I will release the details of the director of the Finance company
that is appointed to handle the release of these fund, I we will secure the
legal documents that will put you in the position of the owner of these
funds, and also to enable you meet with the director of the Finance company
if possible for the release of the funds to you. More details will be
released to you as soon as I receive your reply.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mr. Frank Williams