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:
- "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. )
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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: "Dr. Kevin Brown"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 22:37:28 -0800
Subject: Dear Friend.
How are you today? i hope fine,
I am Dr. Kevin Brown From Harlsden, North West London, here in England. I work for NatWest Bank Corporation London. I am writing you from my office . In my department, being the assistant manager (Greater London Regional Office), I discovered an abandoned sum of $12.5 million USA Dollars (Twelve million five hundred thousand Usa Dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers Late Mr. Thompson Morrison American citizen who unfortunately lost his life in the plane crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which crashed on January 31 2006, including his wife and only daughter.
The choice of contacting you is aroused from the geographical nature of where you live, particularly due to the sensivity of the
transaction and the confidentiality herein. Now our bank has been
waiting for any of the relatives to come-up for the claim but nobody
has done that. I personally has been unsuccessful in locating the
relatives for 2 years now, I 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 12.5 Million Dollars can be paid to you.
This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages,60% to me and 40% to you. I have secured all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up this claim we are making. All i need is to fill in your names to the documents' and legalize it in the court here to prove you as the legitimate beneficiary. All I need now is your honest Co- peration, Confidentiality and Trust to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please, provide me the following: as we have 5 days to run it through. this is very URGENT PLEASE.
1. Full Name:
2. Your Telephone Number :
3. Your Contact Address:
Having gone through a methodical search, I decided to contact you
hoping that you will find this proposal interesting. Please on your
confirmation of this message and indicating your interest will furnish you with more information. Endeavour to let me know your decision rather than keep me waiting.
Dr. Kevin Brown