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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Richard Winfred <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Richard Winfred <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 17:47:04 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Re:From Desk Of Mr.Richard Winfred.
Re:From Desk Of Mr.Richard Winfred.
International Commercial Bank
I know this my letter will come to you as a surprise, Before I continue, I wish to introduce my self to you. I am Mr.Richard Winfred.
I am from Cotonou Benin West Africa. At present, I am the branch manager of International Commercial bank, Cotonou branch Benin.
I write to solicit your permission , If you will sincerely and honestly accommodate the sum of USD$13,520,000.00(Thirteen million five Hundred and twenty thousand United States Dollars) Only.
This fund came as a result of my investigation and auditing in this bank, my department came across a very huge sum of money belonging to one Deceased Hamid Khushal , Who die with all his family, On the 31st of Oct 1999, in Egyptair flight 990 which crashed into Atlantic Ocean and 217 people who died when Egypt Air 990 plunged into vacation made up most of the passenger list. passengers and crew aboard the ill-fated Egypt Air flight.
Check this website for detail ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EgyptAir_Flight_990#Crash)
This money has been dormant floating in our ledger with this bank without any claim of the fund in our custody either from his family or relation because he did not indicate any next of kin to this account in cases of death before their death,
As a matter of fact, since I am the manager of this branch (Cotonou) I seek you kindly forward to me your telephone and your full bank particulars,(Address) To enable me create an account file in your favor to transfer this fund into your oversea account for disbursement as follows,
You we be entitle for 40% for your assistant, 60% will be kept in your account pending my arrival with my wife in your country for her breast cancer operation, i will not fail to intimate you that due to our poor salary here, i could not be able to carryout my wife breast cancer operations which cost a lot of money and with this, if you could assist me and on this transaction, she will then carryout her breast cancer operation in order to save her life, for this reason, i have taking
Please be informed that this transaction is 100% risk free and i am going to monitor all paper works from table to table until the transfer is effected into your overseas account.
I am waiting for your favorable reply if you will be interesting and willing to assist me to champion this transaction.
International Commercial Bank.