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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr arouna Sali <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2016 08:50:35 -0600
Subject: DEAR FRIEND.
Greetings My Dear Friend, Before I introduce myself, I wish to inform
you that this letter is not a hoax mail and I urge you to treat it
This letter must come to you as a big surprise, but I believe it is
only a day that people meet and become great friends and business
partners. Please I want you to read this letter very carefully and I
must apologize for barging this message into your mail box without any
formal introduction due to the urgency and confidentiality of this
business and I know that this message will come to you as a surprise.
Please this is not a joke and I will not like you to joke with it ok,
With due respect to your person and much sincerity of purpose, I make
this contact with you as I believe that you can be of great assistance
My name is Mr.Arouna Sali from Burkina Faso, West Africa. I work in
African Development Bank (ADB) as telex manager, please see this as a
confidential message and do not reveal it to another person and let me
know whether you can be of assistance regarding my proposal below
because it is top secret.
I am about to retire from active Banking service to start a new life
but I am skeptical to reveal this particular secret to a stranger. You
must assure me that everything will be handled confidentially because
we are not going to suffer again in life.
It has been 10 years now that most of the greedy African Politicians
used our bank to launder money overseas through the help of their
Political advisers. Most of the funds which they transferred out of
the shores of Africa were gold and oil money that was supposed to have
been used to develop the continent.
Their Political advisers always inflated the amounts before
transferring to foreign accounts, so I also used the opportunity to
divert part of the funds hence I am aware that there is no official
trace of how much was transferred as all the accounts used for such
transfers were being closed after transfer.
I acted as the Bank Officer to most of the politicians and when I
discovered that they were using me to succeed in their greedy act; I
also cleaned some of their banking records from the Bank files and no
one cared to ask me because the money was too much for them to
They laundered over $5billion Dollars during the process. Before I
send this message to you, I have already diverted ($17.4million
Dollars) to an escrow account belonging to no one in the bank. The
bank is anxious now to know who the beneficiary to the funds is
because they have made a lot of profits with the funds.
It is more than Eight years now and most of the politicians are no
longer using our bank to transfer funds overseas. The ($17.4million
Dollars) has been laying waste in our bank and I don't want to retire
from the bank without transferring the funds to a foreign account to
enable me share the proceeds with the receiver (a foreigner).
The money will be shared 60% for me and 40% for you. There is no one
coming to ask you about the funds because I secured everything. I only
want you to assist me by providing a reliable bank account where the
funds can be transferred. You are not to face any difficulties or
legal implications as I am going to handle the transfer personally.
If you are capable of receiving the funds, do let me know immediately
to enable me give you a detailed information on what to do. For me, I
have not stolen the money from anyone because the other people that
took the whole money did not face any problems.
This is my chance to grab my own life opportunity but you must keep
the details of the funds secret to avoid any leakages as no one in the
bank knows about my plans. Please get back to me if you are interested
and capable to handle this project, I shall intimate you on what to do
when I hear from your confirmation and acceptance.
If you are capable of being my trusted associate, do declare your
consent to me. I am looking forward to hear from you immediately for
Thanks with my best regards as i hope to hear from you through this my
African Development Bank
(ADB) Burkina Faso.