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:
- "hundred thousand u.s 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)
- "fund beneficiary" (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 email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Elizabeth M. Maher" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2023 16:57:07 -0700
Subject: CLAIM YOUR FUNDS.
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY
FUND CLAIM DEPARTMENT
Unclaimed Funds ($4.2 Million)
Dear Fund Beneficiary:
This is to inform you that we received the sum of Four Million, two
Hundred thousand U.S dollars from the IMF as unclaimed funds. The
said fund was awarded to you by the United Nations (UN) together with
the International Monetary Funds (IMF) under the Victim Compensation
Secondly, we received an email from Dr. John R. Jones who claimed to
be your personal doctor. He informed us about your recent conditions
and has promised to send your lawyer's contact details for change of
fund ownership. However, it is very sad to hear such bad news.
Moreover, I want to confirm if you truly suffer from Diabetic
Ketoacidosis and might not survive it according to your doctor. If I
didn't hear from you after 3 days, I shall assume the information to
be true, thus grant his request. If this was false, kindly contact Mr.
Mark Ruben, the fund transfer agent and reconfirm your details as
Contact Person: Mr. Mark Ruben
Valid ID Card...
Urgent response is anticipated.
Mrs. Elizabeth M. Maher
New Jersey State Treasurer