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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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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:

Fraud email example:

From: "Lawrence Tan" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 14:59:41 +0800
Subject: Urgent Attention Willem Tazelaar

Dear Willem Tazelaar,
I am Lawrence Tan, a legal practitioner in Malaysia. Please be patient and
absorb the contents of this email which I believe is a message that will be
beneficial to the both of us. I am the legal representative to Late Thomas
Willem, who herein after shall be referred to as my late client. He died in
March 2005 as a result of heart condition.
Basically, my aim of writing you is to assist me secure the funds left
behind by my client before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by
the bank where this fund valued at $5.9million dollars was deposited. I have
a mandate from the bank to present the next of kin to the deceased or the
funds will be confiscated and so far, all my efforts to get hold of someone
related to this man has proved abortive.
I want you to consider this proposal. If you grant your consent that I
present you to the bank as the next-of-kin and beneficiary of my deceased
client (since you have the same last name),so that the proceeds of this
account can be transferred to you, then we can share the entire proceeds on
a mutually agreed-upon percentage.
All legal documentation to back up your claim as my deceased client's
next-of-kin will be provided. All I require is your honest cooperation to
enable us see this transaction through.
This entire process will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that
will protect you from any breach of the law. However, if this business
proposition offends your moral values, do accept my apology. Please contact
me at once to indicate your interest through my private email:
Best Regards,
Lawrence Tan Esq

Anti-fraud resources: