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:
- ",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)
- "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: "Steffan Francis" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2011 01:22:37 +0100
Subject: I'm waiting for your reply
I am Steffan Francis, a fund manager with an investment management firm, which is one of the leading real estate investment managers. We manage over US$37Billion of real estate assets, of which over US $6Billion is invested internationally. I handle our investor's direct capital funds. On a routine inspection a dormant account was discovered. The investment account belongs to a single holder with monies totaling (GBP 29,000,000.00). On further investigation, I realized that the account holder died in plane crash at Birmingham airport on 4th Jan, 2002. This was also the period the account was last operated. I can confirm with certainty that the said investor died without appointing a next of kin. This set of facts is my reason for writing and making the following proposal to you.
I am of the settled conviction that using my insider leverage and working with you can secure the funds in the account for the both of us and can be used for charity purposes, helping the needy instead of allowing it pass through
as an unclaimed fund for the Authorities to share within themselves. This exactly is why I need your participation and co-operation in this matter.I have seized all relevant documents that will facilitate my putting you forward as the claimant/beneficiary of the funds and ultimately transfer the money to any account nominated by you any where in the world.
Your SHARE for this claim will be 40% from the total fund for your co-operation.I shall however leave out the details of this transaction till I receive an affirmation of your desire to participate with me. Be assured that I am on top of the situation if you agree to come on board.
This should be kept as UTMOST CONFIDENTIAL between us.I guarantee that the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you and me from any breach of law.To affirm your willingness and cooperation to my proposal please contact me through email stating the followings:
(1) Full Name; (2) Telephone, Fax and Cell Phone Numbers; (3) Postal Address; (4) Occupation;
Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.
Thanks & Kind Regards,
Mr. Steffan Francis.