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:
- "any lucrative business in your country" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "with absolute secrecy" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Aku Dos" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 10:12:03 -0000
I apologize if the contents hereunder are contrary to your moral ethics, but please treat it with absolute secrecy and personal courtesy. I am Mr Aku Dos, an Auditor in a International commercial Bank here in Ghana, in the process of auditing our bank accounts this quarter,
I and one of my colleagues recently discovered that there is a dormant account valued at the sum of $10,000,000.00 (Ten million united states Dollars) and after due verification of this account we discovered that the account owner is late and that is why the account has been dormant and as such a $10,000,000.00 has been lying in the bank unclaimed.The idea of presenting a foreigner to act as his next of kin came into our mind as you know the said deceased is a foreigner as well. Hence, that is how and why we have contacted you to present you as his next of kin, so that the $10,000.000.00 will be paid to you and we can both disburse the fund according to the percentage we will agree upon.In view of this, I am seeking for your co-operation and understanding to stand as the next of kin to our deceased customer, to enable us claim the fund from my bank.Hence,
If this proposal is OK by you and you do not wish to take undue advantage of my trust, then I hope to bestow on you. Please kindly get back to me immediately, strictly via my private email address only to enable me enlighten you on how we are to proceed.On getting your response, we shall agree on the percentage ratio on which we shall disburse the $10,000,000.00 between us, as we intend to invest part of our own share in real estate or any lucrative business in your country, and we would appreciate if you can put us in the right part where we can invest our own share in your country.
I will not contact any person or companies until I hear from you, so as to enable me decide on what to do next.
Be rest assured that this business is 100% risk free.
We wait for your prompt response.
Mr Aku Dos.
NB: PLEASE NOTE THAT IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU ARE NOT RELATED TO MY LATE CUSTOMER; THE FUND WILL STILL BE PAID TO YOU, SINCE WE ARE PRESENTING YOU AS HIS NEXT OF KIN