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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "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)
- "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: YOUR CLAIM <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2023 01:15:54 +0200
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL INVESTMENT PROPOSAL
Address: 182 Rivonia Road
Sandton City Johannesburg
I'm Mr. Saint George, a financial consultant based in Sandton City,
Johannesburg South Africa. I have a client (a widow) who has (USDM20,
000,000.00) Twenty Million United States Dollars with a Private Equity
Investment Trust Company for safe keeping only.
She wishes to invest in a stable economy outside South Africa and her
interest is in companies with potentials for rapid growth in the long term.
My client is interested in placing part of her funds into your company or
private businesses, if your country's bi-laws allow foreign Investors.
You can contact me for more details via my mobile Phone or e-mail with your
reference. Please on the reply of this Letter for confidentiality, I will
kindly advise that you reply to me through my private email above and
confirm by phoning +27738601994.
Note: These funds are free from drug and money laundering related offences.
Mr. Saint George.