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 british 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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
- +447045735815 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "mr john wills" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 12:41:41 -0800
Subject: From Mr.john wills PHWBYSOFUE
>From Mr.john wills,
Mobile #: +447045735815
How are you and your family? I know my letter meets you in your best mood today; my name is Mr.john wills, Head of Primeline NatWest Bank Plc London. I
decided to seek a confidential co-operation with you in the execution of the deal described here-under for our both mutual benefit and hope you will keep it
a top secret because of the nature of the transaction, While auditing the bank accounts, I discovered an unclaimed /abandoned fund, sum total of £
23.800,000 GBP (Twenty three million Eight hundred thousand British Pounds sterling) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers (Late Mr.
Donald Arthur Peterson) an American who unfortunately lost his life with his wife, in a plane crash of United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in Southwest
Pennsylvania in September 11, 2001.
After going through his file in our bank, I discovered that he did not specify any next of kin or will beneficiary to the fund. I sincerely seek your consent
to present you as the next of kin / will beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at £ 23.8 Million British Pounds Sterling
will be disburse to you, which we will share in these percentages ratio; 60% for me and 40% to you.
All that I required is your sincere co-operation; trust and utmost confidentiality to enable us conduct this transaction successfully. I assured you that
this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law both in your country and here in London
when the fund is transferred to your bank account. Upon consideration and acceptance of this offer, please send the following information to me immediately.
-Your Full Name,
-Your Contact Address
-Your direct Mobile telephone Number.
This information will enable me to upload your data into our bank database to reflect in the bank network system that you are the named next of kin/will
beneficiary of this fund, then I will guide you on communication with the bank for onward transfer of the fund to you, please note that we have few days to
carry out this deal, Kindly reply to my private e-mail address: email@example.com for confidentiality.
Thanks in anticipation of your urgent response.
Mr. john wills,
NatWest Bank Plc.