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:
- 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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "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)
- ",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)
- 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: cullen richerd <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2021 15:41:48 +0200
I am Mr Cullen Richard , Head Accounts Management Section of a well-known
Bank here in South Africa.
One of our accounts with a holding balance of US$15,500,000 (Fifteen
Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) has been dormant for
some years, the owner died in an automobile accident along Pretoria N1
High-Way. and also he was single at the point of entry into South Africa.
Our Financial Institution is presently and by law the custodian of the
money belonging to the deceased, whose account I am responsible for
monitoring and officiating. Since we got information about his death, we
have been expecting his next of kin or business associate to come and claim
his money because it cannot be released unless somebody applies for it as
next of kin or business associate to the deceased as indicated in our
banking guidelines but unfortunately no one did. It is therefore upon this
discovery that I now decided to make this business proposal to you and
release the money to your account as the next of kin or business associate.
The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remains
dormant after eight years; the money will be transferred into the Bank
treasury as unclaimed funds. The request for your assistance and maximum
co-operation as a foreign citizen is highly needed to release this fund.
30% of the total sum will be allocated to you after a successful transfer
of the money into your account, and 70% will be for me and my associates.
Please note that I don't have any access to withdraw or claim this money
because it was insured by the deceased. I will indulge you at this point to
understand that this is privileged information and must be strictly
I have confidentially discussed this issue with some of the bank officials
and we have agreed to find a reliable foreign partner to deal with. This
transaction is totally free of risk and troubles as the fund is Legitimate
and does not originate from drug or money laundering.
In your interest, please reply as soon as possible.
Mr Cullen Richard.