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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447092984746 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "Mikel Beke" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2011 16:56:34 -0700
Subject: PRIVATE AND URGENT
From: Mikel Beke
Date: 3rd August 2011
Rabo Bank International London UK
ATTN: THE PRESIDENT
PRIVATE AND URGENT.
I am Mr. Mikel Beke, and I am contacting you on business transfer of a huge sum of money from a deceased account. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day. I decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.
I am the account officer to Jose Ferreira (deceased) one of our foreign customers. While he banked with us, I oversaw his accounts and other official/financial obligations as my office demanded being his accounts officer.Unfortunately, he died along with his entire family in the plane crash alongside other passengers, which details will be given to you upon your response. While he was alive, none of his family members was ever known to me other than his immediate nuclear family.Since his death, none of his next-of-kin or relations has come forward to lay claims to this money as the heir. I cannot release the fund from his account unless someone applies for claim as the next-of-kin to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines. Having made a very frantic and exhaustive search for any family member that would lay claim to this fund, I decided to take my chance with you. Now I seek your permission to have you stand as next of kin to the deceased as I have all documentations inc
1. Beneficiary name and address
2. Direct Telephone and fax numbers
These requirements will enable me make some internal re-adjustments and file your name in all the forms and other vital documents as next of kin which before now was left blank by the deceased upon opening of the account Ten years ago. Upon your reply, I will advice the way forward. I must assure you that if you are serious and follow my lead religiously, then these funds will be released to you within a seven-working-day period. If this proposal is acceptable by you, do not take undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed in you, I await your Urgent Reply.
Mr. Mikel Beke.