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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Walter Brouwer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 03 Apr 2020 19:58:20 -0700
Subject: URGENT ATTENTION
I know this Letter will come to you as a surprise, though I do not intend to embarrass you in anyway. Let me start by formally introducing My self to you. I am Mr. Walter Brouwer a Dutch nationality residing in United States.I am a private consultant to late Mr.Adolf Webb a German Citizen who died after a brief illness some years back in Istanbul Turkey.
I contacted you to assist in repatriating the fund valued at ($7,500,000.00) Seven Million Five Hundred United States Dollars, left behind by my client before it gets confiscated or declared un serviceable by the Bank where this huge amount were deposited.
The said Bank has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have his account confiscated within the next twenty one official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.The bank will have no other option than to transfer the money to whom ever that i present as the next of kin.
Therefore, on receipt of your positive response we shall then discuss the sharing ratio and modalities for transfer.I have all necessary information and legal documents needed to back you up for claim.I also have online access of the said dormant account so if you don't mind i can screenshot account and send to you.
All I require from you is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement.
I look forward to receive your response.
MR. Walter Brouwer