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"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:

Fraud email example:

From: "Themba Mthembu" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2022 08:54:46 +0200
Subject: Director, Project Implementation

I am contacting you after making official enquiries at the foreign trade office of the Chambers of Commerce here in Johannesburg, South Africa. I havent disclosed the nature of my intention to anyone due to the sensitive and confidential nature of the project involved which is my need for assistance in profiling some investment funds and transfer of said funds to your country.
I must plead for your confidence and confidentiality and if it so happens that you are unable to assist in this project I would crave your indulgence and ask that you do not divulge this to any other third party and ignore this email. I am constrained to issue more details about this mutually beneficial financial project until I get your positive response by email.
The fund in question $40,000,000.00 (Forty Million USD) accrued from an over-inflated contract executed by foreign contractors through our connections and the over invoiced amount is waiting to be remitted from a commercial bank here in South Africa. By virtue of my position as a senior civil servant I cannot acquire this money in my name due to the fact that I am bound by the Civil Service Code of Ethics which bars me from operating bank accounts outside of our shores. On the other hand it is not safe to keep the funds here due to security reasons; hence my need to source for an overseas silent partner to facilitate the transfer of these funds for our mutual benefit.
My proposal is that after you receive the funds, it would be shared as follows: 30% to you as commission for your cooperation and assistance in facilitating the transfer, while the remaining 65% belongs to me. You will be free to take out your commission immediately after the money is credited to your account in your country. Since our objective is to invest the money in a foreign country, it would be appreciated if you could also help us with advice and direction on investing into profitable ventures in your country.
What we need to do is give you an approval from the ministry and you will email the approval to the paying bank to facilitate the processing and transfer of the contract funds into any of your nominated bank accounts. If you are interested and capable, I request you forward your personal details to my private email address to enable me to contact you for further discussion. I would also request that you send me your most confidential phone number for further communication too.
Mr. Themba Mthembu
Phone:+27 71 700 7449
Director, Project Implementation and Audit Committee

Anti-fraud resources: