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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "demurrages " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "security keeping fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "consignment " (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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Abdullah Omar <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2023 09:14:21 +0100
Subject: Attn :
The UNITED NATIONS IN Affiliation with HSBC BANK have agreed to compensate
you with the sum of US$5,950,000.00, for self support.This is regarding the
draws he organized before he left the office to help individuals to own a
self charity organization also for your to build your Personal
Company/organization so as to help the less privileged children.
This includes every foreign contractor that may have not received their
contract, inheritance sum, and people that have had an unfinished
transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government
problems and the World financial Crisis etc. We found your name in the list
of those who are to benefit from these compensation exercises and that is
why we are contacting you.
I'm obliged to inform you that I have Paid the fee for the Compensation
award Bank Draft Cheque, for self support, Mr. Oscar Thomas the Director of
HSBC BANK told me that before the Cheque will get to your hand that it will
expire. So I told him to cash the $5.950, 000.00, to cash payment to avoid
losing this funds under expiration as I will be out of the country for a 3
Months Course and I will not come back earlier 2023. What you have to do
now is to contact the GML Express Courier (
or if you want to receive it through an open Bank account you can contact
Mr Tom Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org ) as soon as possible to
know when they will deliver your Consignment package to you immediately, I
have paid for the yellow tag fee and delivery Charge.
The only money you will send to the GML Courier to deliver your Consignment
Package directly to your postal Address in your country is US$115 only
being Security Keeping Fee for the TNT Courier Service so far. I would have
paid that but they said no because they don't know when you will contact
them and in case of demurrages on your Package with them.
Please write a letter of application to the given address below:
Company Name: GML EXPRESS COURIER
Manager. Mr Tom Mitchell
Contact Tel: +229-53077166
Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your Postal address....,nearest local
and international airport..., Direct telephone number..... contact
address.... and Your Passport or Driver's licenses.... to avoid wrong
delivery, they will issue you a delivery code#, to enable you track your
consignment box and know when it will get to your address.
Let me repeat again, try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail
to avoid any further delay and remember to pay them their Security Keeping
fee of $115.00 for their immediate action to deliver urgently. Note this.
The GML Courier doesn't know the contents of the Box Package. I
registered it as a BOX of African clothes. They did not know the content
was money. This is to avoid them delaying the BOX. Don't let them know
that the box contains money ok.
We are sorry for the past inconveniences