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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- 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: "Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2023 14:19:59 +0200
Subject: Your Reply Please74
My Dear Friend, God bless you.
I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Mrs. Elizabeth A. Johnson fr=
om the Republic of South Africa. I am reaching out to you as a believer in =
the almighty God and as someone who is currently battling advanced breast c=
ancer. Unfortunately, my condition has worsened, and the doctors predict th=
at I may have no more than three months to live.
I lost my husband, Dr. A. Johnson, to a politically motivated incident fiv=
e years ago. He was a wealthy businessman involved in the Gold/Diamond indu=
stry and also worked as a security contractor for the US embassy. Following=
his passing, I inherited his business and wealth. Given my limited time le=
ft, I have made the decision to distribute a portion of this wealth to help=
the less privileged, the homeless, the elderly, and those in need in your =
country and other countries of your choice.
I came across your email address during my search on the internet, and I p=
rayed to God to guide me to an honest person who can assist me in fulfillin=
g this wish before my health deteriorates further.
I would like to donate the sum of $5,600,000.00 USD (Five Million Six hund=
red thousand United States dollars) to support those in need. Please note t=
hat this fund is currently held in a bank here in South Africa.
If you are interested and willing to help me in this act of charity, kindl=
y let me know. Once I hear back from you, I will provide you with all the n=
ecessary information to facilitate the release and transfer of these funds =
to your bank account. It is my earnest prayer that this money, when transfe=
rred to you, will be used for the intended purpose, as I have come to reali=
ze that acquiring wealth without the grace of God is meaningless.
May the grace of God be with you and your family. I eagerly await your res=
With warm regards, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Johnson
Here is my email address and phone number
Thanks and God bless you.
Yours Beloved Sister
Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson