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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: "Alex Appiah" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2010 17:00:40 -0700
Subject: Ref:Business Partnership/Co-Operation (From Alex Appiah)

I am Mr. Alexander Appiah the Director of Public Works in the Ministry of Works & Housing, Accra. I am writing to intimate you with a business which needs
a foreign Company's assistance to execute. In my department, we have the sum of US$5.3m (Five Million, Three hundred thousand US Dollars Only) over invoice bill after auditing.

This money arose from deliberate over-invoiced bill which we added during Ex-President John Kufours administration to a foreign Company. Now, the government in
power has directed that all contracts duly completed during and after the last regime be paid in this quarter of the financial fiscal year 2010.It is this remaining over-value sum as above, that I and other official in the various Department of the ministry have now decided to transfer into your account for safety, and subsequently disburse in the percentage as follows:20% for you the account owner, 70% for us the partners in Ghana and 10% for taxation and any expenses that might be incurred during the course of this transaction.
After the transaction three officials will be coming to your country to take care of our own fund.

Note you are expected to maintain confidentiality of the project for we have put in many years of meticulous services to the government and will not like to jeopardize our career.
Please reply to me via email and/or

Thank you very much for your anticipated co-operation.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Alexander Appiah.
Director of Public Works
Ministry of Works & Housing

Anti-fraud resources: