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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mike Kumalo" <firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:34:09 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: FUND INHERITANCE PROPOSAL!!!!
Good day to you, sorry to bother you with my mail. As a way of
introduction, my names are Mr Mike kumalo,i am a bank manager here in
I have proposal that if given a mutual understanding will benefit both of us
I resumed duty as the manger 5 months ago and discovered an abandoned
fund of Six Million, Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars
($6,800,000) belonging to Late Dr. Toufic Al Hakim ,a Lebanese.
From my investigation the account has not been serviced nor did the next
of Kin come in respect of the fund.
I am seeking your co-operation to present you as the next of kin to the
There is practically no risk involved, the transaction will be executed
under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law.
If you accept to work with me, I want you to state how you want us to
share the funds when you will receive the fund, so that both parties will
be satisfied. Contact me as soon as you receive this mail that is if you
deem it fit to proceed with me.
Please, treat with utmost confidentiality and a top secret in view of my
sensitive position in the bank.
Mr Mike Kumalo