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)
- "million united states 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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "100% hitch free" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: Kirstin Herbert <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2023 11:58:40 +0000
My Dear Friend,
Please forgive me for stressing you with my predicaments and am sorry to
approach you through this media, it is because it serves the fastest means
of communication. I came across your Email from my personal search and I
decided to contact you believing you will be honest to fulfill my final
wish before I die.
I am Mrs. Kirstin Herbert, 63 years old, from Scotland, UK. I am childless
and I am suffering from a prolonged critical cancer, my doctors confirmed I
may not live beyond two months from now as my ill health has defiled all
forms of medical treatment.
Since my days are numbered, Iâve decided, willingly, to fulfill my
long-time promise to donate you the sum ($5.000.000.00) five million united
states dollars Inherited from my late husband Mr. Edward Herbert, foreign
bank account over years.
I need a very honest person who can assist in the transfer of this money to
his or her account and use the funds for the charity work of God while you
use 50% for yourself. I want you to know there are no risks involved; it is
100% hitch free & safe. If you would be interested in assisting in getting
this fund into your account for a charity project to fulfill my promise
before I die, please let me know immediately.
I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality as I wait for your reply.
Mrs. Kirstin Herbert.