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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Rediffmail, India; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Arthur Singini"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2011 23:54:21 +0100
Subject: PLEASE VERIFY
We are conducting a standard process investigation in relation to matters involving a client. We have in our possession valid tentative evidence that you might be whom we seek. This is in reference to a client of ours and the circumstances surrounding the large sum of money Investments made by him at our bank. Our Private Banking client died intestate and nominated no next of kin to inherit the title of investment made with our bank. The essence of this communication with you is to request you provide us information on three issues;
1- Are you aware of any relative/relation who shares your last name and whose last known contact address was in West Africa?
2- Are you aware of any investment of considerable value made by him at our bank?
3- If your answers to the above questions is yes, can you establish your eligibility to assume status of next of kin to the deceased or can we appoint you as next of kin?. It is pertinent that you inform me at your earliest convenience whether or not you are familiar with our deceased client or if we have your permission to present and confirm you as next of kin and therefore, your eligibility, so we can put an end to our inquiries, surrounding this matter. You must appreciate that we are constrained from providing you with more detailed information at this point.
Upon contact we will be able to verify and ascertain information which you have provided therein, allowing us to release the said Investment to you.
Please respond to me immediately on the email email@example.com, as soon as possible to afford us the opportunity to close this investigation.
Thank you for entertaining my enquiries.