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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "million 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "First Inland Bank of Nig. Plc." (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 18:05:07 -0800
>From The Desks Of
Mr. Jim Williams
First Inland Bank Nig. plc
I am Mr.Jim Williams, Branch Bank Manager of First Inland Bank Plc.,Lagos Branch. Having consulted and based on the information gathered
from the Nigerian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request your assistance to transfer the sum of USD
$25,000,000.00(twenty five million united states dollars) into a secure and safe account in your country.
On December 6 2002, an American oil contractor with the Nigerian Petroleum Mr. Henry Gardner made a numbered time(fixed) deposit for twelve
calendar months, valued at USD$25,000,000.00(twenty five million dollars) in my branch. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his
forwarded address but got no reply.
After a month we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers NNPC, that Mr. Henry died in an automobile accident.
On further investigation, I found out that he did not leave a WILL and all attempts to trace his next of kin were fruitless. I therefore
made further investigation and discovered that Mr.Henry did not declare any next of kin in all his official documents, including his bank
This sum USD$25,000,000.00 is still floating in the bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each
year.This is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year.No one will come forward to claim it. According to country
Laws, at the expiration of 10(ten) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the government if nobody applies to claim the funds.
Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigners to stand in as beneficiary of Late Mr. Henry Gardner.
This is simple
1) I will like you to provide me immediately with your full names and address so that I can prepare the necessary documents which will put
you as next of kin.
4) Marital Status
5) Direct Telephone Number.
We shall employ the services of an attorney for drafting & notarization of the WILL and obtain the necessary documents and letter of
probate or administration in your favor for the transfer.
The money will be paid into your account for us to share in the ratio of 60% for me and 40% for you, which we will both sign and agree
to,by a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U) before we proceed with the transfer of the money to you.
The lawyer will do the paperwork for this transaction and with my position as the branch manager guarantees the successful execution of
this transfer. Upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand.Be rest
assured that this would be most profitable for both of us.
PLEASE OBSERVE UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY, and be rest assured that this would be profitable for both of us because I shall require your
assistance to invest my share in your country.
Awaiting your urgent reply via this email below.
Please reply to : email@example.com
Remain bless and have a wonderful day.
Mr. Jim Williams
First Inland Bank of Nig. Plc.