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 united states dollars" (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: "Lee Yang" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 04:26:55 +0200
Subject: Please indicate your interest!
Greetings to you,
I am Lee Lu Yang, Business Relations Manager for the HuaXia Bank in China .
I am getting in touch with you regarding the estate of a deceased client
with similar last name and an investment placed under our banks management.
I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail
confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a
result of this mail. I contact you dependently and no one is informed of
In 2000, the subject matter, Mr. Alfred came to our bank to engage in
business discussions with our private banking division. He informed us that
he had a financial portfolio of 8.35 million United States dollars, which he
wished to have us invest on his behalf.
Based on my advice, we spun the money around various opportunities and made
attractive margins for our first months of operation, the accrued profit and
interest stood at this point at over 10 million United States Dollars. In
mid 2002, he instructed that the principal sum (8.35M) be liquidated because
he needed to make an urgent investment requiring cash payments in Hong Kong.
We got in touch with a specialist bank in Hong Kong the Guangdong
Development Bank (GDB) who agreed to receive this money for a fee and make
cash available to Alfred. However Guangdong Development Bank got in touch
with us last year that this money has not been claimed. On further enquiries
we found out that Alfred
was involved in an accident in Mainland China, which means he died
He has no next of kin and the reason I am writing you is because you are
What I propose is that since I have exclusive access to his file, you will
be made the beneficiary of these funds. The Guangdong Development Bank will
contact you informing you that money has been willed to you. On
verification, which will be the details I make available to HuaXia bank. GDB
will be instructed to make payments to you after all the necessary
verification and application is done. You do not have to have known Alfred.
I know this might be
a bit heavy for you but please trust me on this. For all your troubles I
propose that we split the money in half. In the banking circle this happens
every time. The other option is that the money will revert back to the
Nobody is getting hurt; this is a lifetime opportunity for us. I hold the
to these funds, and as a Chinese National we see so much cash and funds
being re-assigned daily. I would want us to keep communication for now
strictly by the above email.
Please, again, note I am a family man, I have a wife and children. I send
you this mail not without a measure of fear as to the consequences, but I
know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and
riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have
learned from my private banking clients. Do not betray my confidence. If we
can be of one accord, we should act swiftly on this. Please get back to me
I await your response.