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:
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Steven Lee" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 18:09:00 -0400
I am Mr. Steven Lee, am one of the Staff of our Bank.
On the 2nd of January 2005, I received a call that one of my customer died in
the Tsunami Disaster with his wife and only child while on Vacation at Phuket
Island in Thailand.
Since Then I have made several enquiries to locate any of my customer's
extended relatives and until date have not succeeded.
I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money left behind by My
client before it gets confiscated by our bank or declared Unserviceable by our
bank where this deposit Is lodged.
Now, the bank Directors has called a board meeting regarding this Fund. So my
main motive right now is to share this great opportunity with You by
you as the Next of Kin to the Deceased since all his Banking details are with
me as his personal Account Officer. And the Deceased Account valued
atUS$10,000.000.00 (Ten Million United States Dollars).
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the biological relatives of my late
client, I hereby seek your consent to present you to the bank as
the deceased since you are a foreigner, so that the proceeds of this account
valued at US$10,000.000.00 can be transferred to you as inheritance and
thereafter, you and I can share the money; 50% to me and 40% to you, while 10%
will be donated to the Tsunami Disaster Charity Fund.
We shall start the first transfer with US $5,000.000.00 (Five Million United
States Dollars only), upon the successful actualization of the First transfer
without any disappointment from your side, we shall Re-apply for the
the remaining amount to your account.
I have the original copy of Certificate of Deposit of the funds, which will be
used to substantiate our inheritance claims. All I Require is your consent and
honest co-operation to enable us see the deal through.
Furthermore, I guarantee that the transaction will be executed under
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
Please contact me if you are interested immediately via my personal
Mr. Steven Lee