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:
- "dear friend" (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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Pui Cheung" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 20:22:33 +0100
Subject: Hello Friend!!
FROM MR. CHEUNG PUI
HANG SENG BANK LTD.
DES VOEUX RD. BRANCH,
CENTRAL HONG KONG ,
HONG KONG .
Let me start by introducing myself. I am Mr Cheung Pui director of
operations Hang Seng Bank Ltd. I have an obscured business suggestion
for you. Before the U.S and Iraqi war our client Major Fadi Bassem
who was with the Iraqi forces and also a business man made a numbered
fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of twenty four
millions five hundred thousand United State Dollars in my branch.
Upon maturity several notices was sent to him, even during the war.
Again after the war another notification was sent and still no
response came from him. We later found out that the Major and his
family had been killed during the war in a bomb blast that hit their
After further investigations it was also discovered that Major Fadi
Basem did not declare any next of kin in his official papers
including the paper work of his bank deposit. And he also confided in
me the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of
his deposit in my bank.
As you can see, twenty four million five hundred thousand United
States Dollars is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come
forward to claim it. What bothers me most is that according to the
by-laws of my country at the expiration of 6 years the funds will
revert to the ownership of the Hong Kong Government if nobody applies
to claim the funds. Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is
that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to
Major Fadi Bassem so that you will be able to receive his funds.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we
will come out successful. I have contacted an attorney that will
prepare the necessary document that will back you up as the next of
kin to Major Fadi Basem, all that is required from you at this stage
is for you to provide me with your full name and address so that the
attorney can commence his job, after you have been made the next of
kin, the attorney will also file in for claims on your behalf and
secure the necessary documentation for the movement of the funds to
an account that will be provided by you.
There is no risk involved at all in the matter as we are going to
adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the
necessary documents. Please endeavour to observe utmost discretion in
all matters concerning this issue. Once the funds have been
transferred, we shall share in the ratio of 70% for me, 25% for you
and 5% for any expenses incurred during the course of this operation.
Should you be interested please end me your private phone and fax
numbers for easy communication, finally after that I shall provide
you with more details of this operation.
I also know that you will be surprise about how i got your contact; I
got your contact from an old friend who once works with the EUROPEAN UNION
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (EUCCI) and now a diplomat.
Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.
Mr. Cheung Pui.