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)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Patrick Mensah" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2019 02:34:50 -0800
Subject: Kindly Read And Reply,
I know that this message will come to you as a surprise since we don't know each other before, but for purpose of introduction, I am Mr. Patrick L Mensah a Bank Manager of Barclays Bank Accra. There is an account opened in this bank in the year 2000 and since 2004 nobody has operated on this account again.
After going through some old files in the records, I discovered that if I do not remit this money out urgently it would be forfeited for nothing.
The owner of this account is Mr. Bill Blake a foreigner and a doctor by profession he own one of the biggest hospital in Accra Ghana, but he died since 2002. No other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that his company does not know anything about this account and the amount involved is (USD5.5M) Five Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars.
I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved to a local bank here, but can only be approved to any foreign account because the money is in US Dollars and the former owner of the account is Mr. Bill Blake is a foreigner too. I know that this message will come to you as a surprise as we don't know ourselves before.
We will sign an agreement, but be sure that it is real and a genuine business. Please reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to take immediately. Send also your private telephone and fax number including the full details age and your full name.
AS Soon as the fund gets into your account I will fly to your country for the withdrawal of the fund and sharing and to discus other investments plans. At the conclusion of this business.
I look forward to your earliest as possible.