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:
- "million 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)
- ",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)
- "confidentiality of this transaction" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (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: "Edwin Burke" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2011 07:07:19 +0200
Subject: PLEASE,I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE.
My name is Edwin Burke an external auditor with Bank of America in the United States of America. I need your assistance in a financial transaction. On January 10th 2005, a British Technical Consultant working with Eni SpA opened a fixed Deposit account for 12 months valued at US$36,000,000.00 (Thirty six Million United States Dollars) in Bank of America. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After 30 days, I contacted his company to enquire about his whereabouts and I received an official notification of death from his employers, Eni SpA, that their Technical Consultant died with his wife in the plane crash of December 20th 2005 on board the Ocean airways aircraft headed for the islands of Bimini in the Bahamas killing all 19 people on board. Please consult the CNN cable news network: http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/19/miami.crash/index.html
After my enquiries, I found out that he died without a WILL and all attempts to trace his next of kin have been unsuccessful for the past 5 years. I am contacting you because I have all bank account documents with relevant information of our late customer to enable you act as the legal beneficiary of the funds and process this transaction successfully. The financial policy of Bank of America states that if funds are unclaimed after 5 years, a Forfeiture Order will be issued by the United States Government authorizing the forfeiture of the funds into the Treasury (in this case, into the United kingdom treasury because the customer was a Briton).
I seek your assistance to allow an Attorney file and submit paperwork that will recognize you as the legal beneficiary of the $36million because as an employee of Bank of America, banking policy strictly prohibits bank employees from operating foreign bank accounts. ***SHARING RATIO: I will offer you 40% of the funds for your assistance, 60% will be retained by me. It will take between 10 working days for the entire transaction to be completed. Please I implore you to observe utmost confidentiality and I assure you that this transaction is absolutely risk-free and mutually beneficial for us. If you are interested, please contact me by Fax: +1-323-704-3600 or by Telephone +1-310-484-4798 or you can also email me. I anticipate your prompt response and kind consideration. As stated earlier, your assistance will be rewarded with ONLY 40% of the total funds. The confidentiality of this transaction cannot be over-emphasized.
Direct Fax: +1-323-704-3600