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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Derick Reins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 19:26:49 +0100
I am Mr Derick the director of operations,
ALLIANCE AND LEICESTER BANK PLC, London United Kingdom. I contacted
you as regards to a business proposal that will be of an immense
benefit to both of us and the less privileged ones. Being the director
of operations of this Regional office I discovered a sum of Eighty
Five Million Dollars($85M) belonging to one of our foreign customers
Late Mr. Moises Saba Masri. He was a Jewish business mogul from Mexico
that died on a helicopter crash early this year. Mr. Saba was
47-years-old when both his wife, his only son Abraham (Albert) and his
daughter-in-law died in the helicopter crash.
You can get more information's as regards to the crash and the death
of our late customer Mr. Moises Saba on the site web address below if
you copy and paste the link on your browser
The choice of contacting you aroused from the geographical nature of
where you live particularly due to the sensitivity of the transaction
and the confidentiality herein. Now our company has been waiting for
any of the relatives to come-up for the claim of the inheritance fund
but unfortunately all efforts has being void. I personally have been
unsuccessful in locating neither the relatives nor any next of kin to
Mr. Saba. On this regards, I seek your consent to present you as the
next of kin / will beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of
this account valued at Eighty Five Million Dollars($85M) can be paid
This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages 50% to me and
50% to you. I have secured all necessary legal documents that can be
used to back up this claim we are about to make. All I need is to
upload your names to the documents and legalize them at the British
High Court in order to prove that you are the legitimate beneficiary
at the bank where i work. All I require now is your honest
co-operation; confidentiality and trust to enable us see this
transaction through. I guarantee you 100 % success and that this
business transaction will be executed under the ambit of law and will
also protect you from any breach of the contract.
Please provide me the following as we have 7 working days to run it through:
1. Your full name
2. Telephone number
3. Contact address
Having gone through a methodical search, I decided to contact you
hoping that you will find this proposal interesting. Please on your
confirmation of this message and indicating your interest I will
furnish you with more information's.
Your acceptance to this e-mail and business proposal will be highly appreciated.