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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: Mr william uba <>
Reply-To: Mr william uba <>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2014 19:04:07 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Your pending $5,000,000.00USD has been released

 Hello Dear customer,

On behalf of the management of entire Western Union Office in West Africa including Federal Republic of Nigeria and Benin, i write to inform you that after the general meeting held on January, we concluded with the federal authority that your funds will no longer be transferred through western union means of sending money worldwide. This issue was investigated and addressed by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Governing Board of Central Bank because of the unnecessary delay of your payment. It was further noticed that your funds has been unnecessarily delayed by corrupt officials of some banks and other government officials as well as some Western Union agents in those countries. Currently your payment has been recommended and approved by the federal authority that an official ATM card will be delivered to you within 72 hours.
We therefore agreed with the federal authority that your total fund of five million United States Dollars ($5,000,000.00USD) will be uploading in office ATM card because it will also take much time to transfer such huge amount by western union. This led to the agreement that you will be sent an ATM card with the value of five million United States Dollars ($5,000,000.00USD). It will also put a stop on hopeless situation created by those officials who claimed to be in charge of your funds. Your fund is now credited in ATM card in your favor and deactivated for security reasons.
The federal authority in their view to making the delivery of your ATM successful, appointed UBA BANK GROUP ATM director Mr.Thomas Sears to take charge of the transaction. He is the only director in charge of your funds now, you are advised now to stop any further communication with other offices including western union and money gram. Western Union is no longer in charge of your funds, if you receive any mail telling you to contact western union, kindly know that it's a fake and it will be treated as fraud mail. They also ordered some secret security to monitor the director until you receive your ATM card and withdraw all your funds.
Contact Mr. Thomas Sears now at (Account Options( office line: +229-9858 2907. Call him immediately you emailed him for urgent response on what to do next.
Ms.Linda DouglasManagement of Western Union West Africa

Anti-fraud resources: