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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "to your nominated 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. David Morris" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mr. David Morris" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2013 14:46:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Urgent Attention
King's College London
I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise as we never met before.
I am aware that this is certainly an unconventional approach to Starting a business relationship but I believe knowing each other starts from a step of which I believe I am not making a mistake exposing this very important business deal to you? it is my urgent need for a foreign partner that has caused me to send this to you. I apologized if you find this intrusive, but there is an opportunity for both of us to work together and make clean money that is left over for nobody to claim.
Firstly, let me start by identifying myself. My name is Mr. David Morris. I am the regional manager of the bank. I am writing to solicit your assistance in the transfer of Ten million seven hundred fifty thousand POUNDS (£10,750.000.00).
This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am the manager made as profit during the last three years. I have already submitted an approved End of the Year report to my Head Office here in LONDON and they will never know of this Excess. I have since then, placed this amount of (£10,750.000.00) On a SUSPENSE ACCOUNT without a beneficiary.
As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account. I intend to give 35% of this fund to you while 65% shall be for me. I do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. It is going to be a bank-to-bank transfer to your nominated bank account anywhere of your choice. All I need from you is to stand as the beneficiary of this fund by sending your account details for the immediate transfer of the fund to the account.
If you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely response so that we can proceed with the transfer immediately.
Mr. David Morris.