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:
- "million british pounds" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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. Andre Ropars" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 00:03:01 -0000
Subject: MONEY TRANSFER TO YOU!!
I am Mr Andre Ropars, a Chartered Management Accountant and an External Auditor for financial institutes in England . I currently work with a team of external auditors who are retained to audit financial activities in the entire British Isles . I was intimated of your business pedigree by a colleague who had worked with the Chamber of Commerce.
In the course of a routine audit of our books last year, I discovered some investment accounts that have been dormant for over fourteen years. Most of the accounts belong to a single beneficiary. The balance in these accounts currently stands at about £6,000,000.00 (Six million British pounds sterling only). Further investigation of the said accounts revealed that the investor, an European Citizen, had died sometime in 1992, about the time the account was last operated. The said investor died intestate and as such, no next-of-kin has come forward all these years to lay claim to the investment.
In line with the regulations of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the United Kingdom , I have to inform the Management of the bank about the existence of dormant accounts of this nature. Statutorily, accounts of this kind are regarded as dormant if they are not operated for a period of ten years. The investment account of the EU Citizen in this instance has been dormant for about sixteen years, thus making it a dormant account.
Against the backdrop of the foregoing, I wish to inform you of the existence of the said dormant account so we can work together and have the funds transferred to us. I am of the opinion that using our insider leverage, we (I am working on this with another Auditor), together with yourself can secure the funds in this bank account for ourselves instead of allowing it transmit as unclaimed funds into the Treasury of the Government of the United Kingdom.
Our bilateral cooperation in this regard would entail your contacting the bank and applying as the only surviving relative of the deceased investor. I am in possession of all relevant documents (legal and Institutional) that will facilitate our achieving this goal. Once we get this deposit in the bank transferred to your name as Next-Of Kin, we shall use our banking expertise to supervise the
transfer of the funds in his accounts in the bank to an account to be nominated by you as sole beneficiary to the estate.
You shall be adequately compensated for your part in this transaction as my colleague and I have agreed to give you a 40% share of the total funds for your collaborative efforts.I shall however leave out the other details of this transaction till I receive an affirmation of your desire to participate. I can assure you that we are completely in charge of the transaction and as such there is no risk whatsoever if you decide to work with us. It is however important to say that UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY is of vital importance if we are to successfully reap the immense benefits of this transaction.
Please contact me at my email address for further information. Thank you for your time and I hope to receive a response from you soon.
Mr. Andre Ropars