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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ben Colman" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2019 08:16:57 -0700
Subject: WE NEED TO DISCUSS NOW
I am Ben Colman , an accountant to Colonel Sambo Dasuki,
Nigeria's former "National Security Adviser" to the previous government
(2012 to 2015), now arrested by the present government of Nigeria for
alleged money laundering offenses. Many of his properties seized, his
local accounts and a few detected foreign accounts frozen. His family
are monitored and suddenly placed in lack for politically motivated
reasons. I have been obliged to quickly secure with any trusted
beneficiary, his fund worth (45M GBP) deposited with our bank under my
watch as his account officer, hence the reason i have contacted you
immediately for the transfer and change of ownership of fund to you. See
below links for clarification;
I have all documents that are needed for a legitimate transfer of the
fund to you as a bonafide beneficiary. In addition, i would like to
inform you that in completion of this process, you will earn 40% of the
total sum, while 50% belongs to Colonel Sambo Dasuki and 10% becomes
mine. I will provide you with detailed guideline as a staff of the bank
and I compulsorily demand your sincerity and transparency through which
we can achieve this aim successfully and speedily.
Once i receive your quick response, we shall begin the process
I would wait at this point as i expect your response in accordance.
For familiarity purposes, find my National Identity Card attached.
Reply to my email : bencolman@yahoo.
(The Account Officer)