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:
- 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:
- "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)
- "million 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)
- "you will be given 30%" (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)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Kenneth Mbah" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 7 May 2010 11:59:51 +0300
Subject: Your Reply
# 16 TRANSAMADI STREET,
ATTN: MANAGING DIRECTOR/PRESIDENT
In other to transfer (USD$45 Million Dollars) from our bank, I have the
courage to ask you to look for a reliable and honest person who will be
capable of this important business believing that you will not let me down.
I am MR. Kenneth Mbah the eastern district bank manager of united bank for
Africa plc (UBA). There is an account opened in this bank in 1990 and since
2005 nobody has operated on this account again. After intensive
investigations, I discovered that if I do not find a way to get the amount
in question stacked out somewhere safe urgently it will be forfeited for
nothing. The owner of this account,ENGR. SMITH U. WILLIAMS, a foreigner, the
manager of Petro- technical support services, a chemical Engineer by
profession and he died in 2005 and no other person knows about this account
or any other beneficiary. My investigations prove to me as well that this
company does not know anything about this account and has no attachment to
the said amount. The amount involved is 45 MILLION USD (FORTY-FIVE MILLION
UNITED STATES DOLLARS) ONLY.
In the light of the fact, I need your assistance to open your door to this
opportunity by providing your account or any account of your choice where
the fund will be remitted. I want to transfer this money into a safe
foreigners account abroad but I dont know any one who could actually
assist, I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money can only
be approved to a foreign account because the money is in US Dollars and the
owner of the account ENGR. SMITH U.WILLIAMS is a foreigner too.
I know that this mail will come as surprise to you as we dont know
ourselves, but be sure that it is for real. I got your contact on the
believing that you will not let me down in this business. You are the only
person that I have contacted for this business, so please reply urgently so
that I will let you know what steps to take next. Send also your private
telephone, fax and mobile number for easy communication including the full
details of the account to be used for the deposit. I am contacting you
because of the need to involve a foreigner with foreign account. I need your
full co-operation to make this work out alright.
Your assistance as foreigner is necessary because the management is ready to
welcome any person, a foreigner who has correct information of this account,
which I will give to you immediately, if you are interested to conclude this
transaction with me. If your are capable of handling such amount in strict
confidence, keeping to my instructions I need a sincere person for this
venture because I dont want to make mistake, I need your strong assurance
that this money will be intact pending my arrival in your country for
You should be informed strictly that I will burn all the documents in your
presence immediately after this money has been remitted to your account
leaving no trace to any place. I will apply for annual leave immediately I
hear from you that you are ready to act and receive this fund in your
account. This is to enable me use my position and influence to effect legal
approvals for onward transfer of this money to your account with appropriate
clearance forms of the ministries and foreign exchange department. At the
conclusion of this business, you will be given 30% of the total amount, 60%
will be for us and 10%for any expenses incurred during the transaction.
I look forward to your earnest reply.
MR. Kenneth Mbah