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"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:

Fraud email example:

From: "Agent Laura M. Laughlin" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2014 18:44:50 -0800

Good day Beneficiary,
We have been able to apprehend the officials behind the delay in releasing your Contract/ Inheritance payment. We have been working with special and trained agents around the globe in order to investigate and find out why your payment of $1.5M USD has been placed on hold for several years now.
Some group of corrupt official working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) in West Africa and major banks in the United Kingdom conspired  to rip you off your due payment of $1.5M USD with the Central Bank. We have been able to track down 15 officials that  conspired in ripping and serphoning your over due payment to their own personal accounts..
The fund will be processed and released to you via Telegraphic wire transfer or via a certified ATM CARD. We urge you to make a choice of payment which you find most convenient and also re- confirm your complete names, address, direct telephone numbers, occupation  and a valid ID in order to update your file with the legal processing/payment office.
Finally, We urge you to stop all communication with whom ever you are dealing with at this point for security reasons.
Warm regards,
Special FBI Agent
Laura M. Laughlin

Anti-fraud resources: