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:
- "any lucrative business in your country" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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))
- "chief auditor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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.
- +447045707830 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- auditor, standard chartered bank. london email: email@example.com tel: +44 704 570 7830 fax: +44 844 774 3356 subject: (I12; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Floyd Shely" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 2009 00:04:31 -0000
Subject: Confidential Business Proposal
Chief Auditor, Standard Chartered Bank. London
Tel: +44 704 570 7830
Fax: +44 844 774 3356
Subject: Confidential Business Proposal
Date: December, 29th, 2009.
Dear Esteemed Partner,
I apologize if the contents hereunder are contrary to your moral ethics, but
please treat it with absolute secrecy and personal courtesy. I am Floyd Shely.
I am an Auditor in a commercial Bank here in London UK. In the
process of auditing our bank accounts for the quarter of the year, I recently
discovered that there is a dormant account valued at the sum £7,394,890.00
(Seven Million, three hundred and ninety four thousand, eight hundred and
ninety British Pounds Sterling) and after due verification of this account it
was clear to me that the account owner of the account in question is late, and
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 £7,394,890.00 willed and transferred to you as
the next of kin to the deceased account owner and, we shall both disburse the
fund according to the percentage we will agree upon.
In view of this, I am seeking your co-operation and understanding to stand as
the next of kin to the 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
email - 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.
On getting your response with the above details, we shall agree on the
percentage ratio on how the funds shall be splitter 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 wait for your prompt response.
Mr. Floyd Shely.
Standard Chartered Bank.
London - United Kingdom.
NB: PLEASE NOTE THAT IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU ARE NOT RELATED TO OUR LATE CUSTOMER OR NOT; THE FUND WILL STILL BE PAID TO YOU, SINCE I AM PRESENTING YOU AS HIS NEXT OF KIN.