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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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)
- "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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "lome togo" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Max Humphrey" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:09:40 -0800 (PST)
Subject: I have a profitable deal
I am a banker by profession from Lome Togo in West Africa and currently
holding the post of Manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance
department in one of the leading bank here in Lome. I have the opportunity
of transferring the abandoned funds ($12Million USD) of one of my banks
client who died along with his entire family on 6th December 2009 in a
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next
of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it
unless somebody applies for as next of kin or relation to the deceased as
indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately we learnt that all
his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane
crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained
unclaimed after Eight to Nine years an above, the money will be
transferred into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund. I agree that 40 % of
this money will be for you as foreign partner in respect to the provision
of a foreign account, and while 60 %would be for me.
There after I will visit your country for disbursement according to the
percentages indicated. Therefore to enable the immediate transfer of this
fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as relations or
next of kin of the deceased indicating your bank name, your bank account
number, your private telephone and fax number for easy and effective
communication and location where the money will be remitted. Upon receipt
of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the
application. I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction
is hitch free and that you should no entertain any atom of fear as all
required arrangements have been made for the transfer.
I will not fail to bring to your notice this transaction is hitch-free and
that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required
Arrangements have been made for the transfer, please treat this business
with utmost confidentiality and you should contact me immediately as soon
as you receive this letter.
Please make sure you keep this transaction as your top secret and make it
confidential till we receive the fund into the account that you will
provide to the Bank. Don't disclose it to any body, because the secrecy of
this transaction is as well as the success of it.
I am waiting to hear from you urgently. My address firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Your Name in Full_______
2. You?re Address__________
3. Your Occupation_________
4. Your Nationality________
5. Your City_______________
6. Your Telephone with_____
7. Mobile number___________
8. Your Age________________
9. Your Gender_____________
I expect your urgent response with much anticipation!!!!!!!