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:
- 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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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: Frank Boateng <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2016 22:41:16 +0400
Subject: Urgent: Respond Immediately.
I have tried to reach you but finally I have you on a search via your email address . I have been in search of someone of how best we can assist each other. I am Mr. Frank Boateng, a Bank Officer here in Ghana. I believe it is fate for me to come across you now. I am having an important business discussion I wish to share with you which I believe will interest you, because it is in connection with someone based in your country, we are going to benefit from it.
One Late Peter, a citizen of your country had a fixed deposit with my bank in 2005 for 108 calendar months, valued at US$15,500,000.00 (Fifteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) the due date for this deposit contract was last 22nd of January 2013. Sadly Peter was among the death victims in the May 11 2007 fatal accident in Ghana involving seven vehicles near Awutu-Effutu-Senya district in the Central Region of Accra where thirty-five people were killed on the spot.Read article;
My bank management is yet to know about his death, I knew about it because he was my friend and I was his account officer. Peter did not mention any Next of Kin/ Heir when the account was opened, and he was not married and no children. Last week my Bank Management requested that Peter should give instructions on what to do about his funds, if to renew the contract. I know this will happen and that is why I have been looking for a means to handle the situation, because if my Bank Directors happens to know that Peter is dead and do not have any Heir, they will take the funds for their personal use, so I don't want such to happen. That was why when I saw your last name I was happy and I am now seeking your co-operation to present you as Next of Kin/ Heir to the account, since you have the same last name with him and my bank head quarters will release the account to you.
There is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. It is better that we claim the money, than allowing the Bank Directors to take it, they are rich already. I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds equal, 50/50% to both parties, my share will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream. Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through this my personal email address on
Have a nice day and God bless. Anticipating your communication.