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:
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- ",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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Steven Robert <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2016 07:21:14 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: Greetings to you and your family!
Greetings to you and your family!
Please kindly receive this message with respect. I am Lawyer
Steven Robert, married with three children. I am writing to ask for your
support and co-operation to carry out this business opportunity with
you. I wish to inform you that the Bank has issued me a notice to
provide the next of kin of of my late client fund which will soon be
confiscate into government treasure account as unclaimed fund. And I
have been unsuccessful to locate any family member or relatives of my
deceased client for over 4 years ago he died. He was a coffee and
cocoa merchant when he was alive.
Now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the
deceased since both of you have the same last name which is very much
convincing that the bank will accept you as one of the family member
and transfer his left balance, valued (5,500,000,000.00)
5.5 Million United State Dollars
to any safe bank account you will provide
to the bank for us to share at the ratio of 50% for me and 50% for you,
Then we will work together to cover any expenses that we may incur in
the process of the transfer to your account.
And i will procure all necessary legal documents in your name to
authenticate your claim inside the Bank as the Cousin and legal
beneficiary of my late client fund. All I require is your honest
Cooperation to enable us accomplish the transaction into your bank
account within some few banking days. So please if you are interested,
feel free to contact me back immediately, Then upon your response, I
shall provide you with further information and details that will help
you to understand the transaction more better before we proceed.
So you should please observe utmost confidentiality and be rest
assured that this business would be most profitable for both parties
because I shall require your assistance to invest my own 50% in your
I will need the following information below from you.
Your Full Name and Address,
Your Telephone and Mobile Number.
Thanks for your understanding.
Lawyer. Steven Robert