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:
- "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)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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: "Mrs. Grace Torres" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2016 01:34:44 +0700
Subject: HOW IS THE FAMILY.
How are you,
My Names are Mrs.Grace Torres. I am the Administrative manager at a vault financial & security Institution here in Barcelona.
I am contacting you based on a financial opportunity I discovered here in my Bank. It's about an abandoned sum of $31. 7M Us Dollars (Thirty One million, Seven Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) in our save deposit vault, that belongs to one of our foreign customers, a citizen of your country that share the same surname with you, who died along with his entire family on the 11th march 2006 in a ghastly car accident in Porto Portugal.
The banking policy can only allow the release of such funds to a benefactor through an application as next of kin to the deceased.
After his death, the bank has been expecting a possible beneficiary, but no luck, this institution has exploited all its ethical possibilities in other to contact his possible relatives or inheritors, but to no success since nobody has come over for the claim of the funds for the past 10 years.
I have made my own research with the help of a private investigator, it is my knowledge that this man has been living in Barcelona for the past 22 years and has never returned back home. I also learnt that his wife and 13 year old daughter died along with him during the car accident. I am 100% sure that no one is aware of the existence of these funds.
However, because of the international financial crises, a lot of reform has been made within the Spanish financial system, this includes the new law on succession of claims which indicates a duration in which such inheritance could be tolerated.
The Bank of Spain has mandated our institution to release the funds to the inheritor. Failure to respond to this ultimatum would legally allow the Bank of Spain to confiscate the funds as unclaimed funds (Which of course would go straight to the Government's pocket). It is therefore upon this entire discovery that I have decided to contact you.
I want you to know that I am a senior member of this office. As an insider, I am equipped with all classified secret information regarding the release of these funds. I would dedicate to make sure that I feed you with all possible documentation and information required for the approval and release of these funds.
Upon your acceptance to cooperate, I agree that 50% of this money will be for you, 50% for me. Please note that I have ONLY discussed this issue with my husband.
For time difference and confidential reasons, I strongly advice that you should get back to me via my private email address at (email@example.com) with your contact details immediately you acknowledge the receipt of this mail, so that I would be able to inform you on how this could be concluded.
In conclusion, it's my concern to demand your ultimate honesty, co-operation and confidentiality to enable us conclude this transaction.
I fully assured you that this process would be executed under a legitimate arrangement that would legally protect you from any breach of law.
Please kindly Reply to My Email:firstname.lastname@example.org,