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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- "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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Zeti Akhtar Aziz" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 21:09:48 -0000
Subject: YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!!
>From The Desk of Zeti Akhtar Aziz
Governor,Bank Negara Malaysia
Bank Website: http://www.bnm.com.my
Private Email: email@example.com
How Are You Today,
My name is Zeti Akhtar Aziz., I am the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia and a trained auditor working for the bank as part of a bigger team that covers the entire region. I have taking pains to find out your contact, using the deceased last name.
On a routine audit check last year, I discovered some investment accounts that have been dormant for at least twelve years. All the accounts belong to a single account holder, with monies totaling Nine Million, Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$9,200,000.00). Now, the Malaysian banking regulation and legislation demands that i do notify the fiscal authorities after a statutory time span of Fifteen years when dormant account of this type, are called in by the Malaysian Monetary Regulatory bodies.
The above facts are the reason why I am writing and proposing to you. My investigation of the said account reveals that the investor, a foreign national died in 1995 which was the exact time the account was last operated on. I can authoritatively confirm to you with certainty that the said investor, died inter-state and no next of kin to his estate has been found or has come forward all these years.
I am greatly convinced that using my insider leverage, and working with you, the money can be secured in the account for us instead of allowing it pass as unclaimed funds into the coffers of the Government of Malaysia. Now, I am craving for your participation, indulgence and co-operation in this lucrative deal. I have with me, all relevant and legal documents that will facilitate our putting you forward as the only surviving beneficiary of the funds and ultimately allow you to transfer the money to an account of your own choice.
Of course you shall be handsomely rewarded for your part in this transaction or deal, as i and my Colleagues are prepared and willing to allocate a 20% slice of the total funds for your efforts subject to negotiation.
I shall leave out all further details of this transaction till I receive a confirmatory note of participation from you. Be rest assured that I am on top of this situation all the time and there will be a no risk whatsoever if you elect to come on board. Needless to say, UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY is of vital importance if we are to successfully reap the immense benefits of this transaction.
I look forward to hear from you soon with the below written fax or email address.
Zeti Akhtar Aziz