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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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 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)
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "FRANK SANTOS" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 10:46:26 -0700
Subject: URGENT REPLY
My name is Frank Santos, formerly working with SNS Bank Netherlands
Branch, presently am working with HSBC Bank here in United Kingdom.
I have a proposal to discuss with you about a certain abandoned bonded
bank account in our Bank. The bonded Account has a balance of
17.3 Million dollars.
The owner of the above said bank account had died since 4 years now
and our bank could not locate any member of the deceased family till
Our bank is in the process of declaring the money "Unclaimed
and would turn it over to the UK Government in the next coming
week if we could not locate any family member of the Account Owner.
I do not want this to happen when I have serious financial needs,
I am in a position to push out the fund from our bank without any
problem provided I can present a claimant that shares the same surname
with the original account owner.
It will be beneficial to all parties concerned if you agree to present
yourself as the relative of the account owner since you shares the
same Family name with the Bonded Account Owner.
Consider this proposal as a privilege and let me know how much of the
money you would like to take after paying it to you as the Inheritor
of the abandoned fund.
If you would like to collaborate with me, then send me your
telephone number .................
A copy of your Driver license..................
to enable me to formally
present you to our Bank's Management as the Next-of-Kin and legal
Beneficiary of the above abandoned fund,