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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: "Barr Michael Okpara" <> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 19:50:09 -0800

Dear Friend,

I wish to introduce you to a business deal which would be beneficial to
both of us and which has to be kept confidential for the purpose

My name is Michael Okpara, a Lawyer based in Nigeria. I wish to seek
your consent to present you as next of kin to my late client who died
early this year leaving behind a large sum of money and no next of kin
inherit the money. With your assistance and my professional advise we
can get access to the money.

I look forward to your positive response at your earliest convinience
and if possible send along your telephone number so I call to give you
further information.For confidentiality please reply to

Michael Okpara

Anti-fraud resources: