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:
- 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:
- "any lucrative business in your country" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with absolute secrecy" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447031926799 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "Michael Jefferson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2009 17:27:24 -0400
Subject: Business Proposal... Call Me Immediately
From: Michael Jefferson
Private Email: info
Tel: +44 703 192 6799
Subject: Inheritance Funds / Call Me Immediately
Date: OCT. 9TH, 2009.
I apologize if the contents hereunder are contrary to your moral ethics, but please treat it with absolute secrecy
and personal courtesy. I am Michael Jefferson an Auditor in a commercial Bank here in London UK, in the process of
auditing our bank accounts for the first quarter of the year, I recently discovered that there was a dormant account
valued at the sum ?GBP7,394,890.00 (Seven Million, three hundred and ninety four thousand, eight hundred and ninety
British Pounds Sterling) and after due verification of this account I discovered that the account owner is late.
That is why the account has been dormant and as such the funds are lying unclaimed in the bank.
The idea of presenting a foreigner to act as his next of kin came into my mind so as to have the total sum of
?GBP7,394,890.00 being transferred and willed to you and we can both disburse the fund according to the percentage we will agree upon.
In view of this, I am seeking for your co-operation and understanding to stand as the next of kin to our deceased
customer, to enable us claim the fund from my bank. Hence, if this proposal is OK by you and you do not wish to take
undue advantage of my trust. Please kindly get back to me immediately, strictly via my private email address only: firstname.lastname@example.org to enable me enlighten you on how we are to proceed.
I will appreciate if the details below are confirmed back to me in your next email in order for me to prepare the
MOU, MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING that both of us will endorse in other for both parties to be protected.
PHONE NUMBER (S):
On getting your response with the above details, we shall agree on the percentage ratio on how the funds shall be
splitted between ourselves, as I intend to invest part of our own share in real estate or any lucrative business in
your country, and I would appreciate if you can put me in the right part where I can invest my own share.
Be rest assured that this business is 100% risk free.
I await for your prompt response.
Tel: +44 703 192 6799
NB: PLEASE NOTE THAT IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU ARE NOT RELATED TO MY LATE CLIENT OR NOT; THE FUND WILL STILL BE PAID
TO YOU, SINCE I AM PRESENTING YOU AS HIS NEXT OF KIN.