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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million pounds" (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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Elizabeth Brown <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2020 16:53:11 +0100
Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU MY GOOD FRIEND..
Hello My Dear Friend,
Greetings in the name of God Please let this not sound strange to you for
my only surviving lawyer who would have done this died early this year. I
prayed and got you email id from your country's guest book which I have
been with my late husband and liked to visit once more if God will in his
I am Mrs. Elizabeth Brown from London. I am 58 years old, I am suffering
from a long time cancer of the lungs which also affected my brain, from all
indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious
that, according to my doctors they have advised me that I may not live for
the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very
bad stage. I was brought up from a motherless babies home was married to my
late husband for twenty years without a child, my husband died in a fatal
motor accident Before his death we were true Believers. Since his death I
decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited
all the sum of 5 million Pounds with my bank.
Presently, this money is still with them and the management just wrote me
as the true owner to come forward to receive the money for keeping it so
long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on
my behalf since I can not come over because of my illness or they get it
confiscated. Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital here in London
where I have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. My doctors
have told me that I have only a few months to live. It is my last wish to
see that this money is invested to any organization of your choice and
distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the
motherless babies home.
I want you as God fearing person, to also use this money to fund churches,
orphanages and widows; I took this decision, before I rest in peace because
my time will soon be up. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you
the contact of my Bank. I will also issue you a letter of authority that
will prove you as the new beneficiary of my fund. Please assure me that you
will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Yours in the Lord,
Mrs. Elizabeth Brown.