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)
- "top secret" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Hatah Alayi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 19:13:39 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: VERY VERY URGENT
I'm a staff of UNIBANK LTD, BURKINA FASO. I am contacting you for a business transfer of $10.5M (Ten Million and Five Hundred United States Dollars) from an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers who died along with his entire family in Afghanistan war on May 5th, 2009. Since we discovered his death, none of his relations has come forward to claim this money. On my investigations as his personal account manager here, I confirmed that his surposed next of kin (HIS WIFE) died along side with him too.
Now, The bank cannot release the fund from his account unless someone applies for claim as the next of kin as indicated in our banking guidelines. I have all the necessary information about his account and as such, I want to present you as his next of kin so that the fund will be release to you. our bank law stated that, if the fund remain unclaim for three years then, the fund will be transfer into the bank treasury as unclaimed bill. The deceased customer (MR. KHAN ALI MOHAMED) was my good friend and as such, I will not be happy if the fund is transfer into the bank reserve account as uncliamed fund. My desire is to use part of the fund to build a charity home as to help the poor and the needy in the world. so, I am seeking your permission to have you stand as a next of kin to the deceased as all documentations will be carefully worked out for the fund $10.5M to be released in your favour as the next of kin. I shall be compensating you with 40% on
final conclusion of this project while 60% will be for me. Your share stays with you while my own share 60% shall be for investment/Charity Home in your country
Please acknowledge receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual business endeavour by furnishing me with the following to this my private email .
Your Full name: ............................
Your country: .........................
Your phone Number: ......................
Your private email address...............
Your age: ...............................
Your occupation: ......................
Your bank name & Address.........
Your Account number...........
These requirements above will enable us file a letter of claim to the appropriate departments for necessary approvals in your favour before the transfer can be made to your bank account. This is a business deal that requires top secret for the security of the fund and as such, you should not disclose this deal to anybody until the fund is transfered into your bank account. I kept it secret here. This transaction is 100% risk free; You should not entertian any atom of fear because I am here to back you up in this opportunity as an insider in the bank.
If this proposal is acceptable by you, kindly contact me.