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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: "Patrick Holmes" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 02:52:18 +0000

FROM: Mr. Patrick Holmes.
Progress Bank PLC.
36/38 Mbonu Avenue,
V/Island - Lagos.


I am sorry for the inconveniences this email might cause you but will
appreciate it most, if you can make out time to go through my message.

I am an Accountant with Progress Bank PLC, and the account manager to late
Mr. Harford Stevens, who was the Managing Director of Hamlet Development
company Ltd.

On the 15th day of July 2002 Mr. Harford Stevens was involved in an
automobile accident, in which he unfortunately lost his life, since then I
have made several inquiries to your embassy to locate any of his extended
relatives but this has proved unsuccessful. Before he died his company had a
total of Thirteen Million, Seven Hundred and Ten Thousand, Two Hundred
United States Dollars ($13,710,200.05) in bearer bonds in the bank.

After several unsuccessful attempts to locate any member of his family, to
claim this money as his next of kin failed, I decided to contact you to
assist in repatriating the money and property he left behind here and in the
bank where the money was invested, by acting as his next of kin or one of
the directors of his company, so that the money will be released to you.

I have a delegated authority to carry out all obligations on his behalf and
will use it as the account manager to the deceased in providing all
legitimate documents that will be used to authenticate your claim with the

I want it to be at the back of your mind that the inheritance in claims,
will be shared between both of us at an acceptable percentage that is void
of cheating, at the conclusion of the transaction. All I require from you
therefore, is your honest co-operation to enable us carry this deal to a
successful conclusion.

I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that
will protect us from any breach of the law.

At your acceptance to go into this profitable transaction with me, please
get in touch with me, and send the following information:

1. Your complete names (First Name, Second Name & Surname).
2. Your correspondence address.
3. Your personal telephone/Mobile numbers.
4. Your age and occupation.

This will enable me to make all the necessary submissions at the appropriate
offices within the bank, so that the concerned officials will process and
approve the said inheritance proceeds in your favor.

Send your response to my alternative email address:
to enable me communicate with you conveniently.

Best regards,

Mr. Patrick Holmes.

Anti-fraud resources: