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)
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "HENK BOELENS" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2016 02:25:52 +0100
Subject: OFFER LATTER : URGENT RESPOND NEEDED //
Western Associate Bank
Bank Address:Tower Building 83 Hull Road
Oxwich Brussels Belgium
Please accept my apologies if this request does not meet your personal ethics as it is not intended to cause you any embarrassment in what ever form. I got your
contact email address from the internet directory and decided to contact you for this transaction that is based on trust and your outstanding. I have an interesting business proposal for you that will be of immense benefit to both of us. Although this may be hard for you to believe because i know that there is absolutely going to be a great doubt and distrust in your heart in respect of this email as this might sound strange to you and coupled with the fact that, so many individuals have taken possession of the Internet to facilitate their nefarious deeds, thereby making it extremely difficult for genuine and legitimate persons to get attention and recognition. Please grant me the benefit of doubt and hear me out.
My name is Henk Boelens . I work with Western Associate Bank here in Belgium as a branch manager. I discovered an abandoned sum of GBP 19,850,000.00 (Nineteen Million Eight Hundred And Fifty Thousand British Pounds) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers, Late Dr. Erin Jacobson, an American citizen who unfortunately lost his life and his entire family in Montana plane crash on March 23, 2009, on their way to a group ski vacation. The choice of contacting you is aroused from the geographical nature of where you live, particularly due to the sensitivity of this transaction and the confidentiality herein. Our bank has been waiting for any of the relatives to come up for the claim but nobody has done that. I personally tried to locate any member of his family but have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for 7 years now, i have also checked the deposit documents and discovered that he did not declare any next of kin on the deposit.
Now the Management of our bank has instructed me to look for the next of kin or they will convert the funds into the Government Treasury Account as unclaimed funds and the funds will be wasted. Therefore, I cannot claim these funds without presenting a foreigner to stand as next of kin. This is the reason why I contacted you to seek your consent to present you as a next of kin so that the funds will be release to you, then we share it 55% for me and 45% for you and is deal between me and you.
I have employed the service of an Attorney who will secure all necessary legal documents that could be used to back up this claim. All the attorney need to do is to fill in your names to the documents and legalize it in the Court here to prove you as the legitimate next of kin to the late depositor Dr. Erin Jacobson then the bank will release the funds to you as the rightful beneficiary.
This is a fair deal without any risk attached either on your part or on my part as long as we comply with the laws governing the claiming of funds in our establishment. All I require is your honest co-operation to enable us see this deal through, and with my position in the bank as a bank manager, I will do every thing possible to protect your interest and to make sure everything workout successfully.
If you are interested in this deal, kindly send me your complete information, your full names and address, Your Private telephone and Fax numbers, and Cell phone so that the attorney will start processing the necessary paperwork that would facilitate the release of the funds to you.
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