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"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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Fraud email example:

From: "Mrs Mariam" <> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 18:23:13 +0100
Subject: URGENT

I am Mrs. Mariam Abacha, the widow of Sani Abacha the Late Nigerian Head of State. You were introduced to me through the Chamber of Commerce. I am presently in distress and under house arrest while my son Mohammed is undergoing trial in Lagos and Abuja. The government has frozen all the family account and auctioned all our properties. To save the family from total bank ruptcy I have managed to ship through an undercover courier company, the sum of US20, 000,000.00.kept by my late husband. The money was disguised to beat the Nigerian Security and it is currently deposited in a security company. I want you to receive the money and pay into your Account for the family safely. I am offering you 30% for assisting me secure this money fast before it is located by the Nigerian Government Agents. Contact meimmediately with my Email Address
( so that I can forward to you all necessary details. Endeavour to send you phone and fax numbers for easy Communications. Best regards. Mrs. Mariam Abacha.

Anti-fraud resources: