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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: MRS ELIZABETH JOHNSON <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2023 14:54:58 +0200
Subject: Hoping To Receive Your Response Soonest
Hello My Beloved One.
I greet you with the name of our Almighty God; it is true that this
letter may come to you as a surprise. Nevertheless, I humbly ask you
to give me your attention and hear me well.
My name is Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson from Germany. I was brought up from
a motherless babies home in my country and was married to my late
husband Dr. Abelerd Johnson who worked with our Embassy here in South
Africa for a period of 8 years before he died. We were married for 22
years without a child before he died in a fatal car accident. Since
his death I decided not to remarry due to my religious belief. I am 59
years old, and am suffering from a long time cancer of the breast
which also affected my brain, from all indication my conditions is
really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that, according to my
doctors they have advised me that i may not live for the next six
months, this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$5.6m (Five
Million Six Hundred United State American Dollars) with a Bank here in
South Africa. Presently this money is still in the custody of the Bank
in South Africa. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for
the next six months due to cancer illness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this money to Churches,
organizations or good person that will utilize this money the way I am
going to instruct herein.
I want you to use this money for Churches, Charity organizations,
orphanages, widows and other people that are in need. l took this
decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money.
Moreover, my husband's relatives are not close to me since I developed
a Cancer problem and it had been their wish to see me dead in order to
inherit his wealth since we have no Child. These people are not worthy
of this inheritance. This is why I am taking this decision.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my
ill-health. As soon as I receive your reply I will give you the
contact of the Bank in South Africa where this money is deposited. I
will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank that will prove
you the present beneficiary of this money. I also want you to always
put me in prayer.
Please reply to me at my email address at (email@example.com)
Any delay in your reply may give me room to look for another good
person for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act
accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to receive your response soonest at my private email address at
Thanks and Remain blessed
Yours sister in the Lord.
Mrs Elizabeth Johnson