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:
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:00:25 +0800
Subject: YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS NEEDED
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 serious. 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 to me. My name is Mr.issac Mathew,
from Burkina Faso, West Africa. I work in United Bank for Africa (UBA) 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
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 control. They laundered over $5billion Dollars during the process.
Before I send this message to you, I have already diverted ($18million 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 ($18million Dollars) has been laying waste in our bank and
I donât 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 further information.
Thanks with my best regards.