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 pounds" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Jonathan Maxwell"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 07:07:12 -0600
Subject: Matter Arise Now
I am Jon Maxwell, Fairbairn Private Bank in Jersey, Channel Island, United
Kingdom. I am contacting you concerning a deceased customer and the
investment he placed under our bank management three years ago. I would
respectfully request that you keep the content of this mail confidential
and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of
this mail. I am making this contact with you based for a need of an
individual/company who is willing to assist me to stand as the next of
kin to my deceased client.
Being the deceased financial consultant before his untimely and sudden
death and since i am the only one who has the knowledge of the vaulting
company in Europe where these funds Eighteen Million Pounds (£18 Million)
was moved to and can move this deal forward to it's successful end once we
conclude to work together. It is a task well worth undertaking. According to
practice, the vaulting firm will by the end of this financial quarter broadcast a
request for statements of claim, failing to receive viable claims they
will most probably revert the deposit back to Fairbairn Private Bank.
What I propose now is that if you are the relative to my client please let
me know. I alone have the deposit details and the vaulting firm will
release the deposit to no one unless I instruct them to do so. I alone
know of the existence of this deposit for as far as Fairbairn Private Bank
is concerned, all outstanding interactions in relation to the file are
just customer services and due process. The vaulting firm has no single
idea of what is the history or nature of the deposit. They are simply
awaiting instructions to release the deposit to any party that comes
forward. This is the situation.
My proposal is that; you share similar details to the late fellow; I am
prepared to place you in a position to instruct the vaulting firm to
release the deposit to you as the closest surviving relation. That is: I
will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the
deposit to you. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the
money with you. I would have gone ahead to ask the funds be released to
me, but that would have drawn a straight line to me and my involvement in
claiming the deposit.
I have evaluated the risks and the only risk I have here is for you to
betray my confidence. Hope to hear from you soon if you are interested.