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:
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "mobilization fee" (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. )
- ",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)
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Michael Johnson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 28 May 2016 20:06:27 +0700
Subject: KINDLY GET BACK TO ME IMMEDIATELY
My Dear Friend,
Let me start by introducing myself properly to you. My name is Mr. Mchael
Johnson, The Branch Manager of a Financial Institution.
I had a client by named Eng. Mohamed ziad Husari, He is Syrian Citizen and
died in Syria bomb attacks last year 2015. He was a supplier of High Tech
Machineries, plants and equipment for the renovation of our international
airport. Prior his demise, he secured a contract of US$35,750,000 from our
aviation ministry which he received a 60% mobilization fee of
USD$15,250,000 and successfully executed the contract. The 40% balance of
his payment amounting to USD$21,500,000 due to him was paid into his
account few months after his sudden Death.
I informed my bank management and was instructed to present any member of
his family or relation with an administration of estate for claims. I
never had the courage to discuss this with anyone but frankly speaking, it
will be stupid of me to leave his funds to his account since i know his is
Note, as an officer of the bank, I cannot be personally connected to the
fund which make me to request for your assistance to stand as Eng. Mohamed
relative to receive the fund. I agree that we share the funds 40% for you
and 60% for me. I have all it takes as his personal account manager to put
claim over his funds under a legitimate to appointing you as Eng. Mohamed
relative. I am aware this might be against your ethical belief or personal
indoctrination but I hope you see good reasons to consider partnering with
me as his available relative.
It is officially advised by my bank management to present Eng. Mohamed
relative for the claim. I will send you modalities for the release of Eng
Mohamed funds once I get a positive response from you. Please do treat
this information as Top secret between us and if this business proposal
offends your moral ethics, do accept my sincere apology. Thanks for your
Mr. Michael Johnson.