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)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Richard" <>
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2019 04:23:36 -0800
Subject: Trusting to hear from you immediately
FROM THE DESK OF MR RICHARD PAUL,
AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING MANAGER,
BANK OF AFRICAN B.O.A
TREAT AS URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL.
I am the manager of auditing and accounting at the foreign remittance department of BANK OF AFRICAN) here in Cotonou, Benin Republic. In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of US$5.350m dollars (FIVE MILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND US DOLLARS). in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer (MR. ANDREAS SCHRANNER from Munich, Germany) who died along with his entire family in July 2000 in a plane crash.
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless some body applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines and laws but unfortunately we learn t that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
It is therefore upon this discovery that I now decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it and we don't want this money to go into the bank treasury as unclaimed bill, the money will be transferred into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a Benin-be cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner.
I agree that 30% of this money will be for you as a respect to the provision of a foreign account ,10% will be set aside for expenses incurred during the business and 60% would be for me Thereafter, I will visit your country for disbursement according to the percentage indicated Therefore, to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you arranged,you must apply first to the bank as relation or next of kin of the deceased with a text of application that i will send to you,so i will like you to send to me your private telephone and fax number for easy and effective communication and location where in the money will be remitted.Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the application.
I will not fail to bring to your notice, this transaction is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer. You should contact me immediately as soon as you received this letter.
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
1. Full Name
2. Your Telephone Number and Fax Number
3. Your Contact Address.
Mr. Richard Paul.