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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: JEAN PHILIPS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2018 17:19:52 +0100
Subject: Dear Sir,
Firstly, I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is
by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top
secret.Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make
any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will
at the end of the day. We have decided to contact you due to the
urgency of this transaction, as we have been reliably informed of it's
swiftness and confidentiality.
Let me start by first introducing myself properly to you. I am Jean
Philips, a Manager at the Unity Trust Bank Plc. I came to know of you
in my private search for a reliable and reputable person to handle a
very confidential transaction which involves the transfer of a huge
money to a foreign account requiring maximum confidence.
A foreigner, Late Captain Steve D. Lawrence ,an oil Merchant
/contractor with the federal Government of Benin Republic Cotonou
,until his death five years ago in a ghastly Motor crash, banked with
us here at the Unity Trust Bank Plc, and had a closing balance of
US$20.5M (Twenty Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)
which the bank now unquestionably expects to be claimed by any of his
available foreign next of kin or alternatively be donated to a
discredited trust fund for an orphanage.
Fervent valuable efforts are being made by the Unity Trust Bank Plc to
get in touch with any of late Captain Steve D. Lawrence's next of kin
(he had no known wife and children) that the management under the
influence of our chairman, board of directors, Retired Major General
Kalu Uke Kalu, that an arrangement for the fund to be declared
"UNCLAIMED " and then be subsequently donated to the trust fund for an
In order to avert this negative development , myself and some of my
trusted colleagues in the bank now seek for your permission to have
you stand as late Captain Steve D.Lawrence's next of kin so that the
fund,US$20.5M, would be subsequently transferred and paid into your
bank account as the beneficiary next of kin. All documents and proves
to enable you get this fund have been carefully worked out and we are
assuring you a 100% risk free involvement. Your share would be 30% of
the total amount. 10% has been set aside for expenses, while the rest
would be for me and my colleagues for our involvement and we wish to
invest our shares in real estate /oil business in country.Direct your
reply to this (email;email@example.com).
If this proposal is OK by you and you do not wish to take advantage of
the trust we hope to bestow on you, then kindly get to me immediately
via my e-mail furnishing me with your most confidential data
information mentioned below;
Your Copy of Identification (International)
Passport/Driver's License Attach Copy)+
So that i can forward to you the relevant details of this transaction.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated co-operation.