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:
- 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:
- "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)
- "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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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)
Fraud email example:
From: "Paul Thuan" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 00:17:52 -0000
Subject: In need of cooperation/partnership
My name is Mr.Paul Thuan,I work with the Bank of Nova Scotia Asia Ltd Singapore private banking department. I Work as part of
a bigger team that covers the entire Asia region. I have taken pains to find your contact through personal endeavours.
On routine audit check last month, I discovered some investment accounts that have been dormant for the last five years, all
the accounts belonging to a single holder with monies totalling a little above (US$38.9 Million United States Dollars).
Banking regulation/legislation in Singapore demand that I notify the fiscal authoritie after a statutory time period of six
years when dormant accounts of this type are called in by the monitory regulatory bodies. The above set of facts underscores
my reason of writing and making the following proposal.
My investigations of the said account reveals that the investor died in 2005 the exact time the account was last operated, I
can confirm with certainty that the said investor died intestate and no next of kin to his estate has been found or has come
forward all these years. I am of the settled conviction that using my insider leverage, working with you can secure the funds
especially possible as you bear the same LAST NAME to the said investor, and you can stand as his extended relative. This
exactly why I crave your participation and co-operation.
I have seized all relevant documents (Legal and Banking) including access to the very account of the deceased. That will
facilitate my fronting you as the claimant/sole beneficiary of the decease estate/huge capital (US$38.9M) and ultimately
transfer the money to any account nominated by you. Of course you shall be handsomely rewarded for your part in this
transaction with 50% compensation from the total funds for your efforts, less any expenses.
I shall however leave out the final details of this transaction till I receive an affirmation of your desire to participate.
Be assured that I am on top of the situation. There will be no risk involved whatsoever if you agree to come on board.
Needless to say, UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY is of vital importance if we are to successfully reap the immense benefits of this
I guarantee that the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect all from any bridge of
law. To affirm your willingness and cooperation to my proposal please contact me through my private email
(email@example.com) stating the followings:
(1) Full Name;
(2) Telephone and Mobile Numbers;
(3) Postal Address:
(5) Date of Birth:
(6) Passport/Drivers license.
Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.
Mr. Paul Thuan