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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: "Steven Watson" <>
Reply-To: <>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:47:31 +0100
Subject: Contact


My name is Mr. Steven Watson. I am the Branch manager of Eco Bank Ghana, Ridge West branch. I am 52 years of age and married with 3 lovely kids. It may interest you to hear that I am a man of Peace and don't want problems, but am telling you this because its real and you are not going to regret after doing this transaction with me. I only hope we can assist each other. But if you don't want this business offer kindly forget it as I will not contact you again.

As a branch manager of Eco Bank, it is my duty to send in financial reports to my head office at the end of each year. In my 2009 end of the year balance sheet report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made Twelve Million, Seven Hundred and fifty thousand dollars in excess [12,750.000.00] which my head office are not aware of and will never be aware of. I have since placed this fund on what we call SUSPENSE ACCOUNT without any beneficiary.

As an officer of the bank I cannot be directly connected to this money, so that explains my contacting you for us to work so that you can assist receive this money into your bank account for us to SHARE. You can have 40% of the total fund. Note there are practically no risk involved, it would be a bank to bank transfer, all I need from you is to stand claim as the original depositor of this fund who made the deposit with our branch so that my Head office can order the transfer to your designated bank account.

If you accept this offer to work with me, I will appreciate it very much because I intend to invest my share in your country and real estate.

Forward me your private contact information for speedy relation on this matter. As soon as I receive your response I will detail you on how we can achieve it successfully.
Best Regards
Steve Watson

Anti-fraud resources: