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:
- "million us 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "keep it confidential" (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 next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Foster Watcher <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2018 12:03:47 +0000
Subject: I'm looking forward to hear from you
This is urgent, and I look forward for your cooperation in an issue I need
you to handle with me. My name is Foster Watcher and I work in one of the
prime banks in the United Kingdom.
I was actually helping a friend Mr. Neenus Y. Khoshaba a businessman from
the USA to transfer some of his money from Iraq during the time Islamic
terrorist thugs murdered people unjustly and destroyed their properties
without any form of pity. Neenus Y. Khoshaba was an unfortunate victim of
this attack, he was Kidnapped and Murdered on May 22, 2005.
Before his death, he had traveled to England to deposit the sum of
$18,000,000.00 (Eighteen Million US Dollars) with HSBC bank which I once
worked for. These were proceeds he made secretly from various oil deals in
Iraq. I had the opportunity of knowing this because I was his account
He also appealed to me to ensure that the funds were safely kept and if
anything should happen to him I should make his fiancee his next of kin. I
have made frantic effort to contact any relatives of Mr. Neenus Y. Khoshaba
for so many years without any success, his fiancee died of shock after
hearing of his death.
At this point I am contacting you to act as the next of kin/original
beneficiary to Mr. Neenus Y. Khoshabas fund in the bank because the bank is
planning to hold the funds as "uncleared funds" and thus add it to the
bank's treasury since no one has come forward to claim it.
I need you to stand as the next of kin so that the funds can be processed
in your name and you can transferred to your account in any part of the
world. I cannot do this alone neither can I make claims to it myself that
is why I need your assistance.
If you agree to take up this responsibility, then I will facilitate the
process in making you the official beneficiary to the funds and you will be
required to contact the bank to instruct a transfer of the funds to your
account. I want to really appeal to you that as soon as these funds are
transferred to you, you will be trustworthy enough to keep it safe and also
to keep it confidential.
If you agree to assist me in this matter, you will definitely be entitled
to 25% of the total money lodged in your name for your participation. I
Know you would be surprised to read this message, especially from someone
relatively unknown to you But, do not worry yourself so Much. This is a
genuine, risk free and legal business transaction. Reply back to me
urgently, if you are interested. All details shall Be sent to you once I
hear from you.