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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "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: "James Taylor" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2011 05:33:24 -0800
Subject: Dear Friend,
I am James Taylor, the personal accounting officer to Mr. PETER ACOSTA, a national of your country, who used to work with shell development company in Malaysia. Here in after shall be referred to as my client.
On the 21st of April 2007, my client, his wife And their only son were involved in a plane crash, unfortunately they lost there lives. Since then I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives this has also proved unsuccessful.
I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposits were lodged Particularly, the Standard Chartered Bank where the deceased had an account valued at about 13.5 million dollars has issued me a notice as his accounting officer to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 3 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at 13.5 million dollars can be paid to you and then you and I can share the money.
All I require is your honest co-operation to enable us see that this transaction succeeds.
I will like you to send me your fax and phone numbers for easier communication.
I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
If you are willing to assist me in this transaction Looking forward to your positive response.
Mr. James Taylor