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:
- "a security company " (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. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "trunk box" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: Abogado Abogado <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2012 10:41:19 +0200
Subject: Attention my dear
Attention my dear
Firstly, I must solicit your confidence in this transaction; this is
by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret.
Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one
apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well
at the end of the day.
Let me start by first introducing myself properly to you. It may
surprise you receiving this letter from me, since there was no previous
correspondence between us. Jose Maria. A personal Attorney to Late Mr.
Before his death, he deposited One Trunk Box/Diplomatic Personal
Treasure, containing the sum of $12, 500,000.00 (Twelve Million Five
hundred thousand US dollars) with a security company here in Spain, but
he did not disclosed the content of deposited diplomatic consignment to
the security company, for security reasons.
The security company has mandated me to present any family
beneficiary/inheritor for claim before the consignment gets confiscated
or reverts to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as an unclaimed
diplomatic Personal Treasure.
So I decided to search for any of my late client's relative which has
been very difficult for me, as he did not declare any other person,
address, partner or relatives in the official paper works of his
diplomatic consignment deposited.
So far all my efforts to get a hold of someone related to this man has
proved abortive. Hence, I have contacted you. I am actually asking for
your consent to present you to the security company as the Next of
Kin/beneficiary of my late client's fund, since you have the same last
name, so that the contents of this consignment can be paid to your
All the legal documentations to back up our claim as my client's Next
of Kin I shall provide them. All I require is your honest cooperation
to enable us achieve this transaction.
The intended transaction will be executed under a legitimate
arrangement that will protect you from any infraction of the law.
However, if this business proposition offends your moral ethics, do
accept my sincere apology.
If on the contrary you wish to achieve this goal with me get back to
me thru my fax, phone or email. Kindly get back to me with your
interest for further explanation
I wish to point out that I want 10% of this money to be shared among
the charity Organizations, while the remaining 90% is shared equally
This proposition is entirely 100% risk free. I will use my position as
the clientâs attorney to guarantee the successful execution of this