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:
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i am using this medium to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Richard Wales" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 14:38:14 -0500
Subject: URGENT & IMPORTANT MESSAGE
Good day. I apologize for sending you this sensitive information via e-mail (Internet) which has been greatly abused instead of a Certified mail/Post-mail. This is due to the urgency and importance of the information.
I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise as we have never met before, but need not to worry as I am using this medium to seek for your foreign assistance. My name is Richard Wales; I work with Standard Bank London Plc, United Kingdom as an Accountant. There is an account that has remained dormant for some years now with our bank valued the sum of US$9,850,000.00 (Nine Million, Eight Hundred and fifty Thousand United States Dollars) which I am the account manager. The account holder died on the 25th of July 2000 with his wife and their only two Children in an automobile accident.
The Banking ethics here does not allow such money to stay more than 9 years, because the money will be recalled to the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund. I am writing you, so that we can work together to remit the money to you as the next of kin since you have the same last name with him before they get declared unserviceable by the Bank where this huge Deposit was lodged. This money belongs to a foreigner and has to be claim by a foreigner; no one will ever come forward to claim it.
Our Bank has issued me a notice as the account Manager to the Deceased to provide his Next of Kin or have the fund declared as an UNCLAIMED FUND within the Next 15 official working days.
All I need is a trustworthy, faithful and honest partner to execute this transaction, since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 7 years now that I have been searching. I seek your consent to present you as the Next of Kin to the Deceased since you are a foreigner like him so that the proceeds of this Bank Account can be paid out in your favor.
There is no risk involved and I guarantee this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will not breach the law by both parties; it is simple process that will take a very short while to process. I have all the necessary legal documents that will be used to back up any claim we are going to make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us seeing this deal through.
You will keep 50% of the total fund on final conclusion of this project, while the rest shall be for me. Your share stays with you while the rest shall be for me for investment purposes in your country.
I wait for your urgent reply with your personal telephone number, so that we can proceed with the proper documentation of the transfer to your favour through legal processes.