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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "AFRICA DEVELOPMENT BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2018 10:31:59 +0100
Subject: HELLO MY DEAR FRIEND 202
My name is Rev JOHN OKEKE , I am the Bill and Exchange (Assistant)
Manager of AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK . In my Department
I discovered an abandoned sum of Seventeen million five hundred thousand
United State of American dollars (17.5MILLION USA DOLLARS) in an account that
belongs to one of our foreign customer who died on 12th August 2017
Since I got information about his death I have been expecting his next
of kin to come over and claim his money because we can not release
it unless somebody applies for it as the 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 in the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim. It is
therefore upon this discovery that I decided to make this business
proposal to you and release the money to you as next of kin or relation
to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody
is coming for it and I don't want the money to go into the bank treasury
as unclaimed bill.
You will be entitled with 40% of the total sum while 60% will be for
me after which I will visit your Country to invest my own share when
the fund is successfully transferred into your account, Please I would
like you to keep this transaction confidential and as a top secret as
you may wish to know that I am a bank official.
PLEASE NOTE IS STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL
AWAIT YOUR URGENT RESPONSE
REV JOHN OKEKE
ASST DIRECTOR FOREIGN ACCT DEPT
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
PLEASE RESPONSE ONLY TO THIS EMAIL email@example.com