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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with absolute secrecy" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Larry Xhosa" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2011 13:58:51 +0200
Subject: ATTN: YOUR REPLY
>From the Desk of Mr. Larry Xhosa.
Personal Relations Officer
Rand Merchant Bank. South Africa .
I apologize if the contents hereunder are contrary to your moral ethics. But please treat with absolute secrecy and confidentiality.
I am Mr. Larry Xhosa; the Personal Relation Officer at Rand Merchant Bank to the deceased. On May 12, 2010, one of our esteemed clients Mr. Andrew Stapleton made a numbered time (Fixed Deposit) for twelve calendar months in my Bank since August 2009. Upon maturity, we sent a usual notice to his known address but got no answer.
After a month we sent a reminder and finally we discovered that he went on a vacation with his family to Libya and unfortunately they were aboard the An Afriqiyah Airways A330-200 Airbus crashed in Libya, killing 103 people as it tried to land at Tripoli airport See the below link for more news about the air crash:
On additional inquisition, the Bank discovered that he died without making a WILL or PROBATE and all efforts made to locate any of his extended relatives proved fruitless. On further inquest, it was discovered that late Mr. Andrew Stapleton did not state any next of kin in all his official documents.
The total sum of US$9.5M still in my bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each fiscal year. No one would ever come forward to claim this money.
In accordance with the Financial Services Authority Guiding Principles, the account would be declared fallow and the proceeds would be revert to the possession of the South African Government if nobody applies as the beneficiary to the funds.
On this note, I wish to invite you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account will be released to you for us to share as similar chances do arise in the Bank and itís only the Top Executives that siphon such funds for their own aggrandizement.
Upon your acceptance of this proposition I shall give you comprehensive information on how this venture would be accomplished without any hitch.
Moreover, we shall employ the services of a notary here for the purpose of procuring a letter of probate and to obtain all other pertinent documents in your name for the requisite documentation for immediate approval of this fund to your favour.
The money would be shared in the ratio of: Fifty percent for me, forty five percent for you and five percent for any arising contingencies during the course of this transaction.
I pledged that this venture would be accomplished under a justifiable pact that will protect you from any legal trouble and I will use my significant influence in the bank to secure approvals and guarantee the successful completion of this transaction.
Please be informed that your extreme discretion is required. If this proposition interests you, kindly reply me directly by email and indicate your readiness and willingness to finalize this transaction with me.
Equally email me with your full name, your address, year of birth, your contact telephone and fax numbers.
Upon receipt of your positive response with the requested information, I will start the preliminary arrangements and also draft an Application letter you will endorse and send it officially to my Bank to enable them start Administrative Processing and Approval in your favour.
Thanks for your time as I look forward to your timely and positive reply.
Mr. Larry Xhosa.