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.
Fraud email example:
From: mike <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2017 14:45:21 +0200
*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 came across your contact on the internet and from my instinct which
normally doesn't disappoint me made me to contact you.*
*You also may have received this kind of mail but you know quite well
whatever has fake has some form of original.*
*This proposal 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*
*Skype: mike kumalo*