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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: "Engr. Benjamin Mashego"<>
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 2009 17:29:51 +0200

Engr. Benjamin Mashego,
South Africa.,

Good Day,


It's my pleasure to contact you for a business venture, which I intend to establish in your country, though I have not met with you before but believe one has to risk, confiding in someone to succeed sometimes in life. I write, asking for your indulgence in re-profiling funds to tune of $16,500,000:00 United States Dollars that we want kept safely overseas under your supervision.

In other words, we would like you to receive the said funds on our behalf. The Funds were derived over time from a project awarded to a foreign firm by my Department, and presently the actual contract cost have been paid to the original project executors, leaving the balance in the tune of the said amount which we have in principle obtained approval to remit overseas.

Currently, I work as a Projects Manager at the Department of Minerals & Energy here in Pretoria. I have the authority and approval of my Partners involved in this transaction to negotiate a suitable compensation for your participation and I propose 30%, while we also propose that we receive 65% and 5% percent be earmarked for purposes of taxation.

This endeavor has a minimal risk factor on your part provided you treat it with the utmost discretion. Kindly establish your response directly to the committee's representative whose name appears below for further clarifications. We wait in anticipation of your fullest co-operation.

I kindly wait to hear from you.

Yours Sincerely,

Engr. Benjamin Mashego,
Tel: +27 82 646 5640.,

Anti-fraud resources: