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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Emili Berker <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2019 09:20:29 +0300
I am Mrs. Emili Berker, I'm a Cambodian American Citizen, I'm the wife
of late Mr. Jon Berker, my husband worked with the Brunei Shell
Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP) for twenty years and worked in Istanbul
Turkey as a contractor before he died in the year 2010.
We were married for 14 years without a child. My Husband died after a
brief illness that lasted for only two weeks. Since his death I
decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home.
When my late husband was alive we deposited the sum of $6,500,000
Million with a Bank in Turkey. The bank management just wrote me as
the beneficiary to come forward to sign for the release of this fund
or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on
my behalf if I can not come over.
Presently, I'm in the hospital where I have been undergoing treatment
for esophageal cancer. My doctor have told me that I have only a few
months to live. It is my last wish to see this money distributed to
charity organizations, Because my husband relatives and friends have
plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with
the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them.
Please, I'm seeking for any honest person who will get the Funds from
the Bank. And use this money to fund the poor, orphanages, widows and
charity organizations. I took this decision because I don't have any
child that will inherit this money and I don't want my husband's hard
earned money to be misused by his greedy relatives.
Due to the state of my health. I can not communicate by phone because
my illness have affected my throat. I prefer to communicate here on
email. I will appreciate if you give me more light about you and your
I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly
manner. Hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not
afraid of death hence I know where I am going if i die. As soon as I
receive your reply I shall give you the contact detail`s of my lawyer
who is conversant with the unclaimed funds and my presents situation.
However I shall forward to you the bank details with the letter i will
give you as she will be the one to assist you in laying claims for
Above all, I wish to assure you that the funds in question is not an
act of Terrorist Funding, neither Money Laundering nor Drug-funding.
Thus, the transfer will follow the normal protocol of funds transfer,
backed up with its papers so that you will not encounter any
difficulties or problem with your Federal Monetary Control
Mrs. Emili Berker.