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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Help Me <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 7 May 2021 09:13:28 +0100
Subject: Inheritance Proposal!!
Bank of Scotland
89/91 Cricklade Road, Gorse Hill,
Swindon, SN2 1AB.
My name is Mr Ben White. I trained and work as an external auditor for
Bank of Scotland. I Work as part of a bigger team that covers the
entire Scotland and England region. I have taken pains to find your
contact through personal endeavours.
On routine audit check last month, I discovered some investment
accounts that have been dormant for the last fourteen (14) years, all
the accounts belonging to a single holder with monies totalling a
little above (41,100,000.00) Forty-one Million One Hundred Thousand
United States Dollars. Banking regulation in Singapore demands that
the fiscal authorities are notified when accounts are dormant for this
period, so that the funds can be called in by the regulatory bodies.
The above set of facts underscores my reason of writing and making the
My investigations of the said account reveals that the investor died
in 1997â the exact time the account was last operated, I can confirm
with certainty that the said investor died intestate and no
nextâofâkin has been found or has come forward all these years. I am
of the settled conviction that using my insider leverage and working
with you, we can secure the funds instead of allowing it pass as an
unclaimed fund into the coffers of the UK Government. This is
especially possible as you bear the same LAST NAME to the said
investor, and can stand as his extended relative.. This exactly is why
I crave your participation and co-operation.
I have seized all relevant documents (Legal and Banking) including
access to the very account of the deceased. This will facilitate my
putting you forward as the claimant/beneficiary of the funds and
ultimately transfer the money to any account nominated by you. You
shall be rewarded for your part in this transaction with 40% of the
total funds for your efforts, less any expenses. I shall however leave
out the final details of this transaction till I receive an
affirmation of your desire to participate. Be assured that I am on top
of the situation. There will be no risk involved whatsoever if you
agree to come on board. Needless to say, UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY is of
vital importance if we are to successfully reap the immense benefits
of this transaction. I guarantee that the transaction will be executed
under a legitimate arrangement that will protect us from any breach of
To affirm your willingness and cooperation to my proposal please
contact me through email stating the followings:-
(1) Full Name;
(2) Telephone, Fax and Mobile Numbers;
(3) Postal Address:
Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.
Mr Ben White