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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "chief auditor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ravi" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 18 May 2011 00:30:11 +0100
I am Mr. Ravi Morras, the Chief Auditor of a finance company. In the course of performing my duties in the company as an auditor, I discovered floating money in a domiciliary account which was opened in 1994 belonging to a foreigner who died in 1999. All effort to track any member of his nuclear and extended family or next of kin has failed, I conscripted with the head of my department to the plot (as the deal cannot be successful without his approval) and we decided to divert the fund for our private use. I have been mandated to contact you to stand as his next of kin since you bear the same last name (SURNAME) with the Beneficiary of the Account Holder, so therefore I can present you to my company as his next of kin. He died without leaving an Heir or a Will.
My intention is to transfer the sum of Fifteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United States dollars (USD15.500.000.00) in the aforementioned account to a safe account overseas for our private use. I am proposing that you partner with us since you bear the same last name with the late account holder and provide a bank account or open a new one that will serve the purpose of receiving this fund. For your assistance and participation in this venture, we are ready to part with a thirty percent (30%) of the entire funds i.e. Four Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States dollars (US$4,650,000.00) as your share. On scrutinizing the deceased records and files with our finance company, I discovered that:
(1) No one has operated this account since 2001
(2) He died without any heir hence the money has been floating.
(3) No other person knows about this account and there was no known beneficiary.
If the money is not remitted urgently, it will be declared as unclaimed fund and converted to the company's funds which will benefit only the executive directors of my firm. This money can be approved and paid to you legally once I present you as the next of kin and secure all the documentary approvals and certifications in your name and also guide you stage by stage on how to make your claims application to ensure its approval and payment.
Please reply stating your direct telephone and fax numbers so that I can send you detailed information on the modalities of my proposition. The entire process leading to the crediting of your bank account with the inherited funds will be completed within 14 working days. I implore you to keep this proposition confidential as it is failure proof, 100% risk free and legal. I look forward to your prompt response.
Mr. Ravi Morras
Email Address: email@example.com