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.
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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:
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Miss Alice akator <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2011 13:18:12 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Dearest love
I am writing this mail to you with tears and sorrow from my heart. My name is Alice akator, 25yrs old female and I held from Burkina Faso . My father was the former Burkina Faso road Minister. Him and the Assistant Minister of Home Affairs Lorna Laboso died as a result of Gassy Car accident along high way of Bobo doulasso the formal capital city of my country which is also my States Capital.
After the burial of my father, my step mother and uncle conspired and sold my father's properties to an Italian expatriate which they shared the money among themselves and live nothing for me. My step mother has to do these things out of envy , One faithful morning, I opened my father's briefcase and found out the documents which he has deposited huge amount of money in African Development Bank Ouagadougou, with my name as the next of kin.
I travelled to Ouagadougou to withdraw the money for a better life so that I can take care of myself and start a new life, on my arrival, the Bank Director whom I met in person after going through the files, told me that my father opened a JOINT account between him an his business associated from Italy Mr Toti by name thus the bank refuses to remit the money to me all alone, they insisted for the invitation of Mr Toti or his kin aswell. thus i want you to stand as the next of kin to Mr TOTI and i shall represent my father; together we came make the claim. .
I am in search of an honest and reliable person who will help me and stand as my trustee so that I will present him or her to the Bank as a heir to the estate of Mr Toti for transfer of the money to his or her bank account overseas. I have chosen to contact you after my prayers and I believe that you will not betray my trust. But rather take me as your own sister. Though you may wonder why I am so soon revealing myself to you without knowing you, well I will say that my mind convinced me that you may be the true person to help me.
More so, I will like to disclose much to you if you can help me to relocate to your country because my stepmother has threatened to assassinate me. Though she is in a different state now but we must have to hasten up and transfer this money so that i can prepare my travelling document and come over to your country. The amount is ($11.6M USD) Million United State Dollars and I have confirmed from the bank in Ouagadougou and all they need to transfer the money is your consent as the kin to Mr toti and provision of active bank account information where to remit the total sum. So I want you to forward your account and you will also help me to place the money in a more profitable business venture in your Country hence i do not have business idea.
However, you will help by recommending a nice University in your country so that I can complete my studies. It is my intention to compensate you with 40% of the total money for your services and the balance shall be my capital in your establishment. As soon as I receive your positive response showing your interest I will put things into action immediately. In the light of the above, I shall appreciate an urgent message indicating your ability and willingness to handle this transaction sincerely.
Awaiting your urgent and positive response. Please do keep this only to your self. I beg you not to disclose it till i come over because I am afraid of my wicked stepmother who has threatened to kill me and have the money.
Miss Alice akator