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:
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: owen green <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2021 12:43:39 +0000
Subject: Re Confidential Proposal.....
Mr. Owen Green
Smith & Williamson Holdings Limited,
London, United Kingdom.
I am Mr. Owen Green, the Auditor General, Smith & Williamson Holdings
Limited, United Kingdom. In the course of my auditing, I discovered a
floating fund in an account, which was opened in 1990 belonging to a
dead foreigner who died in 1999. I have been able to contact the Late
account holder's attorney; but every effort made to track any member
of his family or next of kin has since failed hence I got in contact
with you to stand as his next of kin since you bear the same last
name. He died leaving no heir or a will. Since his attorney is aware,
you will contact his attorney since he has all the legal documents
backing the fund.
My intention is to transfer this sum of Five Million, Five Hundred
Thousand US Dollars only, in the aforementioned account to a safe
account overseas. I am therefore proposing that you quietly partner
with me and provide an account or set up a new one that will serve the
purpose of receiving this fund. For your assistance in this venture, I
am ready to part with a good percentage of the entire funds. We will
share the funds in the proportion of 60% for you, 10% for the
attorney, 20% for me and 10% will be donated to Charitable
Organizations. After going through the deceased person's records and
files, I discovered that:
(1) No one has operated this account since 1999.
(2) He died without a heir; hence the money has been floating.
(3) No other person knows about this account apart from the attorney
and there was no known beneficiary. That is why every process has to
go through the attorney.
If I do not remit this money urgently, it would be forfeited and
subsequently converted to company's funds, which will benefit only the
directors of my firm. This money can be approved to you legally as
with all the necessary documentary approvals in your name. However,
you would be required to show some proof of claim, which the attorney
will provide you with and also guide you on how to make your
Please do give me a reply so that I can send you detailed information
on the modalities of my proposition. I completely trust you to keep
this proposition absolutely confidential, I look forward to your
Mr. Owen Green.