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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Chike Andrew" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 12:26:56 +0700 (WIT)
MR CHIKE ANDREW
PRIME TRUST BANK NIG PLC.
#3 AHMADU BELLO WAY
LAGOS STATE -NIGERIA.
Permit me to introduce myself, my name is Mr. Chike Andrew, I work with
prime trust bank nigeria plc as a Credit Officer (Domiciliary). In the
discharge of my
Duty, I came on this Domiciliary account that has remained dormant for
Some years now with our bank valued the sum of US$5,300.000 (Five
Million, Three Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) I made some
enquiries And Discovered that the account holder died when a Kenyan Airways
crashed along the coast of West Africa in July 2003.Please I want you to
visit the website for more information about the Plane Crash and the
Deceased Dr George and his family:
I am writing you so that we can work together to remit the money to you
As the next of kin because this money belongs to a foreigner and has
to Be claimed by a foreigner. I have contacted you to assist in
repatriating the money left behind by our deceased customer. Before the Bank
declares this Deposit unserviceable. The Bank has issued me a notice as
the Account officer to the Deceased to provide the Next of Kin or have
the fund declared as an UNCLAIMED FUND within the Next 15 Official
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over
8 years now that I have been searching. I seek your consent to present
The Next of Kin to the Deceased since you are a foreigner like him so
That the proceeds of this Bank Account can be paid out in your favor.
I guarantee this transaction under a legitimate arrangement that will
not breach the law by both parties; it is a simple process, which will
take a short while to conclude. I have all the necessary Legal Documents
That will be used to back up any claim we are going to make. All I
Require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through.
Please acknowledge receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual
Business endeavor by furnishing me with the following;
1. Your Full Names and Address.
2. Direct Telephone and Fax numbers.
These requirements will enable us file a letter of claim to The
Appropriate departments for necessary approvals in your favor before the
Transfer can be made. You will be compensated with 35% of the total fund on
Final conclusion of this project, while the rest shall be for me. Your
Share stays with you while the rest shall be for us for investment
Purposes in your country. You can reach me via email. I wait for your
urgent reply so that we can proceed with the proper Documentation of the
transfer to your favor through Legal processes.
Credit Officer (Domiciliary)