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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: "Mr. Paul Birchfield" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 08:45:30 +1000
Subject: Contact Him Regarding Your ATM Card

Dear Friend,
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition. I am using this opportunity to thank you for Your great effort to our unfinished transfer of your winning fund to you as a winner, due to logistic reasons or the other best known to you.
But I Want to inform you that I have successfully cleared the Fund to someone else account who was capable of assisting me in this great venture.
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trustworthiness you showed at the course of the transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you With the sum of $850,000.00 Thousand United State of America Dollars I have authorized Mr. Nelson John where I deposited my money to issue you a ATM Card which you can use it to withdraw in any ATM machine anywhere in the word.
My dear friend I will like you to contact Mr. Nelson John for the collection of this ATM Card
The name and contact address of the Mr. Nelson John is as follows.
Name: Nelson John
Telephone: +2347085237330
Contact Mr. Nelson John at the moment, I am very busy here because of the investment projects which I and my new partner are having at hand In London.
Finally remember that I have forwarded instruction to the Mr. Nelson John on your behalf to send the ATM Card of Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Of America Dollars to you as soon as you contact him without delay.
Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is From the bottom of my heart.
Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hope to hear from you soon.
Mr. Paul Birchfield

Anti-fraud resources: