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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "million 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)
- "you will be given 30%" (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)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Victor Willson" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 18:56:54 -0000
Subject: Compliments of the Season,
Greetings from Abidjan
Before I introduce myself, I wish to inform you that this letter is not a
hoax mail and I urge you to treat it serious. We want to transfer to
overseas account ($160,000.000.00 ) One hundred and sixty million US
DOLLARS from a prime Bank here in Abidjan. I want to ask you, If you are
not capable to quietly look for a reliable and honest person who will be
capable and fit to provide either an existing bank account or to set up a
new Bank a/c immediately to receive this money, even an empty a/c can
serve to receive this money, as long as you will remain honest to me till
the end for this important business trusting in you and believing in God
that you will never let me down either now or in future
I am Mr.willson victor, presently promoted to Auditor General in one of
the banks here in Abidjan cote d'ivoire. During the course of our auditing
last week, I discovered a floating fund in an account opened in the bank
in 2008 and since 2013 nobody has operated on this account again, after
going through some old files in the records I discovered that the owner of
the account died without a [Heir/WILL] hence the money is floating and if
I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for nothing.
The owner of this account is Mr. Keith Lathan an American and a great
industrialist and a resident of Alaska State, who unfortunately lost his
life in the Auto crash in Alaska , which crashed on January 31 2010,
including his wife and only daughter leaving nobody to claim the money. No
other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the
account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well
that the account is a secret account.
The total amount involved is One hundred and sixty million US DOLLARS only
[160,000.000.00 DOLLARS ] and we wish to transfer this money into a safe
foreigners account abroad. But I don't know any foreigner; I am only
contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved to a
local person here, but to a foreigner who has information about the
account, which I shall give to you upon your positive response. I am
revealing this to you with believe in God that you will never let me down
in this business, you are the first and the only person that I am
contacting for this business, so please reply urgently so that I will
inform you the next step to take urgently. I need your strong assurance
that you will never let us down, me and a key bank official who is deeply
involved with me in this business.
I guarantee you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. The bank
official will destroy all documents of the transaction immediately you
receive this money leaving no trace to any place. I will use my position
and influence to obtain all legal approvals for onward transfer of this
money to your account with appropriate clearance from the relevant
ministries and foreign exchange departments At the conclusion of this
business, you will be given 30% of the total amount, 70% will be for us.
PLEASE, TREAT THIS PROPOSAL AS TOP SECRET.
I look forward to hear from you.contact me through my email address (
willson victor .