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)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
Date: Mon, 01 Apr 2013 22:21:09 +0200
Subject: Response to your email.
I am Mr.Fernando Luis the Deputy Manager of La Caixa Bank, I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise as we have never met before.
I Hoped that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to repose on you for the mutual benefit of our both families. I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of ($3.5m USD) Immediately into your account.
The fund has been dormant (in-active) for over 12 years in our Bank here without any body coming for it.
According to the law of the Spain and Bank ethics after 13 years of any account holder being dormant and nobody come for it, the stakeholders of the bank will confiscate the fund to their bank treasury as an abandoned fund.
I want to release the fund to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer Mr. Andreas Schranner (the owner of the account) who died a long with his supposed next of kin in air crash since on 31st July 2000. I don't want the fund to go into our Bank treasury as an abandoned fund, so this is the reason why I contacted you, so that my Bank will release the fund to you as the nearest person to the deceased customer.
For more information about the crash you can visit this site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm
Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret, and delete it if you are not interested.
Upon receipt of your reply, I will give you more details regarding this transaction and also note that you will have 40% of the above mentioned amount if you agree to help me execute this business. And also after the funds has been transferred into your bank account you will take 10% out as a compensation for the expenses in this transaction and 50% is for me. I need to hear from you urgently so that I will give you more information regarding this transaction.
Deputy Manager La Caixa Bank Spain.