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 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)
- ",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)
- "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)
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2022 22:17:02 -0300
Subject: Urgent Help Needed
I am Mrs. FranÐ·oise Caroline, the Director of affairs and corporate
governance committee in a bank here in my country.
I am writing this letter to ask for your assistance and co-operation to
carry out this transaction. In my department I discovered an abandoned
sum of (USD$250,000,000.00) Two Hundred And Fifty Million US Dollars. In
an account that belongs to one of our customers (MR. ERIK BYSKE) who
died along with the wife and children in a ghastly motor accident in
November 2017. Since after his death, we have been expecting his next of
kin to come over and claim his money as the heir because we cannot
release any money from the account unless someone applies for claims as
the next of kin to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines.
Unfortunately, neither his family member nor distant relatives has
applied to claim the fund. Upon this discovery, I have decided to make
business with you and release the total amount to you via a security
company. Because according to law of 1993 any account that has no valid
claim after a few years will be revert to government treasury, please
note that this information is very confidential.
I need your full cooperation because the management is ready to approve
the payment to anybody who has correct information about this account,
which I will give to you later if you are able to handle such an amount
in strict confidence and trust according to my instructions and advice
for our mutual benefit.
With my position now in the office, I can transfer this money to any
account, which you can provide with assurance that this money will be
intact pending my physical arrival in your country for sharing. I will
destroy all documents of the transaction immediately we receive this
money leaving no traces to any place. At the conclusion of this
business, you will be given 45% and 45% is for me while the remaining
10% will be used for all the expenses required to conclude the
Looking forward to hearing from you if you are interested:
Mrs. Francoise Caroline
Director of affairs and corporate governance committee