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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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 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)
- "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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR.Albert Essien."<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 18:10:06 -0000
Subject: URGENT AND SECRET.
My name is Albert Essien, Executive Director, Foreign Exchange, Ecobank Plc. I am 54 years, and I have been in the current position since 2005, and I may be retiring before the next 3 years, and that is what necessitates this brief message to you with firm belief that we both can mutually compliment one another in a ónce in a life time opportunity' that's currently available in my office and which I intend to maximally exploit.
There is thirty five million dollars ($35,000.000.00) in an escrow account under my direct supervision whose owner, colonel Mouarmer Ghadafi has just been killed. The colonel did not name any specific next of kin, but he did indicated that his son, S. Al Islam should assume ownership in the event of his death. It is not possible for the National Transition Council N.T.C of Libya to trace this fund or any other in other several African banks because the late president merely used special codes, and unlike in western countries where banks are under obligation to disclose every deposits with secret codes to government for possible asset frozen, such arbitrary regulation does not applies in Africa.
And for now, Ghadafi family is confused and totally disorganised to trace some of their wealth scattered around the world, and this is why I have decided to strike now.
I will assemble all the necessary papers for transfer including a purpoted letter of consent from Ghadafi son or any member of his family, and upon ratification by head of our legal department whom I have incorporated into this deal, transfer is now ready to be made to an account to be provided by you anywhere in the world.
After successful transfer to your bank account, I will destroy every record relating to this transaction by setting my office on fire, and 12 months after the incident, I will put in my resignation letter. Mission acomplished.
I will give you not more than 30% of the entire fund for your commitment, support and trust while you hold the remaining 70% for me in trust and advice on possible viable investment options for my consideration pending final disengagement from Ecobank.
If divine mind that pervades the Universe has considered you worthy and have chosen you to be my confidant; then acknowledge my letter and estabish contact with me ASAP. Please reply to my official e-mail adress (email@example.com)
Treat as confidential.
With Best Regards.
Executive Director, Forex, Ecobank.