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:
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "transaction is risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Niezgoda Piotr" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2020 02:08:39 -0000
Hello My Friend,
I have a proposal for you, this however is not mandatory nor will I in any manner compel you to honor against your will. My name is Niezgoda Piotr. I got your contact email from emal data directory while searching for a very crediable person to deal with, who will keep secret-secret,my late client Kosha Vaidya is the subject matter. She died along with her husband, their teenage daughters and her parents on the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 that crashed in an open field six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa Mar 12, 2019.
Before her death, she deposited the sum of $17.5M with our bank. The bank has mandated me to present any family heir/inheritor for claim before the fund gets confiscated as an unclaimed fund.
Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Kosha Vaidya, since I find you worthy/trustworthy, so that the money will be released to you. I will prepare every relevant document that will assist your claims, and facilitate the release of the fund.Note that this transaction is risk free. There is no atom of risk in executing this business as I have worked out all modalities to complete the transaction successfully. Once the money is released to you, we shall share the profit and the expenses equally.
Please be kind to get back to me if you are not interested so that I can further my search for another partner. Also please do keep this proposal very confidential even if you have no interest.