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:
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "James Dale" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2018 22:32:15 -0700
Subject: URGENT ATTENTION.
My name is Mr. James Dale, I am a senior accountant with a prominent bank
herev in the UK. I have worked here for more than 10 years now and I was the
personal accountant to one Engineer Mike Thomson, a foreign contractor who
has an account with my bank.
Unfortunately, my client died along with his nuclear family in Belgium while
on his annual leave in the summer of 2009, may their souls rest in peace.
Several efforts were made to find his extended family through their embassy
without success. I received a notice last week from my bank to provide the
next of kin of Engr. Thomson being his accountant or the account risks been
transferred to the government (es-cheat) in 21 days time. I am contacting
you to assist me in repatriating the funds left behind by my late client
since I have all the necessary information and documents to successfully
present you as his next of kin.
Please be rest assured that this claim will be executed without breaching
any british laws or indeed the laws of your country and success is
guaranteed if we cooperate on this. The bank will release the account to you
because of my recommendation of you as the next of kin.
I will forward my dentification Document as soon as I get your response, so
you know that I am not serious about this proposal. The amount involved is
$12,000,000 (Twelve Million Dollars) I propose we share the proceeds as
45% to you
45% to me
5% will be donated to charity and balance of 5% would be used to offset any
unforseen expenses that might arise as a result of executing this deal.
I think this is fair. I will give you all the necessary information about
this deal when I get your response.