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:
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Lee Fatt Shoon" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 16:02:04 +0100
Subject: PLEASE CONFIRM RECEIPT
This is a personal email directed to you and I request that it be treated as such. I am Lee Fatt Shoon, a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney/sole executor to a late client who worked as an independent oil magnate in my country and who died in a car crash with his immediate family on the 4th of Oct 2008. Since the death of my client in Oct 2008, I have made efforts to locate any of his extended relatives whom shall be claimants/beneficiaries of his abandoned personal estate and all such efforts have been to no avail.
More so, I have received official letters in the last few weeks suggesting a likely proceeding for confiscation of his abandoned personal assets in line with existing laws by the bank in which my client deposited the sum of Nine Million Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$9, 800, 000). On this note I decided to search for a credible person and finding that you bear a similar last name, I decided to contact you, that I may, with your consent, present you to the "trustee" bank as my late client's surviving family member so as to enable you put up a claim to the bank in that capacity as a next of kin of my client.
I find this possible for the fuller reasons that you bear a similar last name with my client making it a lot easier for you to put up a claim in that capacity. I propose that 35% of the net sum will accrue to you at the conclusion of this deal in so far as I do not incur further expenses. Therefore, to facilitate the immediate transfer of this fund, you need, first to contact me via signifying your interest and as soon as I obtain your confidence, I will immediately appraise you with the complete details as well as fax you the documents, with which you are to proceed and I shall direct on how to put up an application to the bank.
However, you will have to accent to an express agreement, which I will forward to you in order to bind us in this transaction. Upon the receipt of your reply, I will send you by fax or E-mail the next step to take. I will not fail to bring to your notice that this proposal is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any fears as the required arrangements have been made for the completion of this transfer. Like I have implied, I require only a solemn confidentiality on this.
Lee Fatt Shoon