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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Themba Mthembu" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2023 14:56:25 +0200
Happy New Month My Friend,
How are you and your family? My name is Mr. Themba Mthembu. I am
contacting you from the foreign trade office of the Chambers of
Commerce here in Johannesburg, South Africa. I havenât disclosed the
nature of my intention to anyone due to the sensitive and confidential
nature of the project involved which is my need for assistance in
profiling some investment funds and transfer of said funds to your
I must plead for your confidence and confidentiality and if it so
happens that you are unable to assist in this project, I will crave
your indulgence and ask that you do not divulge this to any other
third party and ignore this email. I am constrained to issue more
details about this mutually beneficial financial project until I get
your positive response by email.
The fund in question $25,000,000.00 (Twenty-Five Million USD) accrued
from over-inflated contract executed by foreign contractors through
our connections and the over invoiced amount is waiting to be remitted
from a commercial bank here in South Africa. By virtue of my position
as a senior civil servant I cannot acquire this money in my name due
to the fact that I am bound by the Civil Service Code of Ethics which
bars me from operating bank accounts outside our shores. On the other
hand it is not safe to keep the funds here due to security reasons;
hence my need to source for an overseas silent partner to facilitate
the transfer of these funds for our mutual benefit.
My proposal is that after you receive the funds, it would be shared as
follows: 30% to you as commission for your co-operation and assistance
in facilitating the transfer, while the remaining 65% belongs to me.
You will be free to take out your commission immediately after the
money is credited to your account in your country. Since our objective
is to invest the money in a foreign country, it would be appreciated
if you could also help us with advice and direction on investing into
profitable ventures in your country.
What we need to do is give you an approval from the ministry and you
will email the approval to the paying bank to facilitate the
processing and transfer of the contract funds into any of your
nominated bank accounts. If you are interested and capable, I request
you forward your personal details to my private email address
on(email@example.com) to enable me to contact you for
further discussion. I would also request that you send me your most
confidential phone number for further communication too.
Mr. Themba Mthembu
Program Implementation Committee.