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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "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)
- "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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Albert Kwesi" <email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 05:00:23 -0000 (GMT)
Subject: "Response needed ASAP"
I am Mr. Albert Kwesi, Operations Manager of Zenith bank Ghana.
I have an urgent and very confidential business proposition for you. On
October 20th, 2007; Mr. Henry Rocher, a National of France, who used to be
a private contractor with the Shell Petroleum Development Company in
Saudi Arabia. Mr. Henry Rocher Made a Numbered time (Fixed deposit)
for 36 calendar months, valued at $21, 000,000.00 (Twenty one million
Dollars) in my Branch.
Upon maturity in 2010, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding
address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally
we discovered from his contract employers, Shell Petroleum Development
Company in Saudi Arabia that Mr. Henry Rocher, his wife with their
three children were involved in an auto crash, all occupants of the
vehicle unfortunately lost their lives during one of his trips to his
On further investigation,I found out that he died without making a WILL,
and all attempts to trace his next of kin was fruitless. I therefore
made further investigation and discovered that Mr. Henry Rocher did not
declare any next of kin or Relations in all his official documents,
including his Bank Deposit paperwork in my Bank. The sum of $21, 000,000.00
have been floating as unclaimed since 2007 in my bank as all efforts to
get his relatives have hit the stones. According to the Ghanaian law at
the expiration of 5 (FIVE) years, the money will revert to the ownership
of the Ghanaian Government if nobody applies to claim the fund and the
FIVE years is the end of NOVEMBER, 2012.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years
now,I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin / Will Beneficiary
to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at
$21, 000,000.00 can be transferred/paid to you.This will be disbursed
or shared in these percentages, 60% to me and 40% to you.
I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any
claim we may make. All I require is your honest Co-operation,
Confidentiality and A trust to enable us sees this transaction through.
I guarantee you 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 urgently by E-mail and Provide me with the following;
1. Full Name
2. Your Telephone Number and Fax Number
3. Your Contact Address.
Your urgent response will be highly anticipated and appreciated.
Mr. Albert Kwesi