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:
- 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:
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Robert Amoah" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2016 13:29:08 -0700
Subject: I Need Your Collaboration.
I am Mr Robert Amoah, a staff in the foreign remittance Department of a commercial bank in Ghana. In my department, we discovered an abandoned sum of (US$21.5M) Twenty one Million, Five hundred, thousand United States Dollars only, in an account that belongs to Mr Boyd calton an expatriate who died along with his entire family in 26th December 2005 in a plane crash.
Since we got information about his death,the bank has been expecting his next of kin to come over for the claims because we cannot release it unless somebody applies as a next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines.
Unfortunately we learnt that he did not mention any beneficiary to his account before his sudden death. It is therefore upon this discovery that I and a colleague of mine in the office now decided to contact you, with our support as insiders in the bank, it makes it easier for the money to be released to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased since nobody is fronting for the money and we do not want this funds to go into disbursement account as unclaimed bills.
The banking law and guidelines here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after Ten(10) years the money will be transferred into the government account as unclaimed fund.
We shall negotiate on the percentage split of the funds as we proceed.
Therefore to enable immediate release of the inheritance to you as arranged, you should contact me immediately via email for further directives on how to go about actualizing the claim in your name.
Email the below information.
Your full name:
I look forward to your immediate response. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Robert Amoah.