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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Nicholas Benson" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2011 23:02:55 -0000
Subject: Oil consultant/contractor
Mr. Nicholas Benson
Union Bank Plc.
I wish to seek your assistance for the transfer of overdue deposit of US$25M made by a foreign investor (an Oil consultant/contractor) in my bank. The account holder made a short term deposit without WILL. I have secured from the probate an ORDER OF MANDAMUS to locate any of deceased beneficiary. I have made several futile enquiries to locate any of his extended relatives. Now the management of the bank has issued a notice to provide the next of kin or declare funds unclaimed. Since I was unsuccessful in locating the relatives, I am seeking your cooperation to stand-in as next of kin so that we can claim the fund and use it for mutual business investment.
This money cannot be approved to a local bank account holder, thus, that is why I am contacting you to fill-in as beneficiary. If you do accept my offer to stand as beneficiary of the fund, it will be disbursed 50%/50% as this is a two-man business transaction. Am assuring you safety of participation should you accept to proceed. Be rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us. Subsequently, I shall provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand the transaction upon your acceptance. I need your assistance and co-operation to this reality as I have done my homework to fine tune the best way to make this succeed. My position as the branch manager of the bank will equally be a plus.
I will like you to provide information required for drafting beneficiary change such as, your full names and address, date of Birth, occupation, Tel & Fax Numbers. I will be contacting a lawyer who will draft and carry out the notarization of the WILL and also obtain the necessary documents of claim in your favor for the transfer to your account. All I require is your honest co-operation to enable us seal this deal.
I will appreciate your early reply for commencement of business as I am looking forward to file all papers within 14 working days given the short notice for compliance. Contact me for acknowledgment proposal letter and indication of interest. If this proposal is acceptable by you, I expect that you will not take undue advantage of the trust I Will bestow on you. I await your urgent response.
Union Bank Plc.