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:
- 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 deposit" (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 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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Ahmed Sambo" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2012 05:39:42 +0800
Subject: Re: Urgently Waiting for Your Calls.
I am Mr. Ahmed Sambo, I work with the office of the Director, Foreign Operation Department of Eco Bank Transnational. Plc,Cotonou Branch.
It happened On the 2nd of May 2004, Engr. P.B Walter, a national of your country who used to work with Shell Petroleum Development Company In Egbema (SPDC), my client, his wife And their three children were involved in a car accident along Shagamu Express Road.
All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then, Eco Bank TRANSNATIONAL PLC have made several inquiries to your embassy to locate any of the extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful.
After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the Internet, to locate any member of his family but of no avail hence I contacted you.
I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money that belong to your Uncle, before they get confiscated or declared unservice able by the bank where this huge deposits were lodged.
Particularly, the Bank where the deceased had an account valued at about $18.6 Million Dollars has issued a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days.
Since the bank has been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 3 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased, so that the proceeds of this account valued at $18.6 Million Dollars can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money, 40% to you and 50% to me, while 5% should be for expenses or tax as your government may require, I have the Certificate of deposit that can be used to back up any claim we may make.
All I require is your honest co-operation to enable us see this deal through and your telephone number for easy communication.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me by my private email: email@example.com, to enable us discuss further.
Mr. Ahmed Sambo