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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united state 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)
- ",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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Hendrick Marais" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 08:00:35 +0100
Subject: Business proposal from Malaysia
From. Mr. Marais:
It's my pleasure having you contacted today, I'm Hendrick Marais the branch manager of one of international Banks in Malaysia, Am 52 years old married with two kids. And I want to trust you with amount of US$3million which is presently available for our benefit.
I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit both of us. As branch manger of our bank, it's my duty to send auditing report to our bank head office in the capital city Kuala Lumpur at the end of each business year. On the course of last year (2010) business report. I discovered that my branch in which am the manager made Three million united state dollars (US$3,000,000.00) which our bank head office does not aware of. Further my private investigation I discover that this money is part of unclaimed deposited funds in our bank by a late foreign investor before his death in 2008 without any beneficiary information and also no trace of his family nor relatives as a foreigner.
But as an officer in our bank I can not be directly have access to this fund. So my aim of contacting you is to seek for your partnership to team up with me and receive this money with your bank account and get 40% of the total fund as commission for your partnership.
Lastly, the transfer will be bank to bank transfer without any problem because every necessity has been done to ensure safe and successful transfer of the fund to your bank account, all I need from you is to stand claim as the beneficiary of fund to enable our bank head office release the fund to your bank account. Don't hesitate to call me on +601116364751 for voice conversation.
Waiting for your urgent response to enable me furnish further details.