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:
- 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. )
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Sharon S. Chao" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2022 11:38:04 +0100
Subject: From Mrs.Sharon S. Chao
I am Mrs.Sharon S. Chao the wife of the late Mr. Richard Chao. I am an Indonesian American Citizen.
My husband worked with the Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP) for twenty years before he died
We were married for ten years without a child. My Husband died after a brief illness that lasted for
only two weeks. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial
home. When my late husband was alive we deposited the sum of $15.2 million with a bank which I will
tell you later. The bank management just wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to sign for the
release of this fund or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my
behalf if I can not come over.
Presently, I'm in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer. My doctor
has told me that I have only a few months to live. It is my last wish to see this money distributed
to charity organizations, Because my husband, relatives and friends have plundered so much of my
wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any
Please, I'm seeking for any honest person who will get the Funds from the Bank. And use this money
to fund the poor, orphanages, widows and charity organizations.
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and I don't want my
husband's hard earned money to be misused by his greedy relatives.
I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner. Hence the reason for
taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going if I die. Due to
the state of my health. I can not communicate by phone because my illness has affected my throat. I
prefer to communicate by email.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact details of my lawyer who is conversant
with the unclaimed funds and my present situation. However I shall forward to you the bank details
with the letter I will give you as she will be the one to assist you in laying claims for these
Above all, I wish to assure you that the funds in question are not an act of Terrorist Funding,
neither Money Laundering nor Drug-funding. Thus, the transfer will follow the normal protocol of
funds transfer, backed up with its papers so that you will not encounter any difficulties/problems
with your Federal Monetary Control authorities. Contact me with my private email or you can drop
your E-mail address with me .
Mrs.Sharon S. Chao