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:
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "deadline" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Francis Chu" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2018 00:51:52 -0000
Contacting you through this medium is not with the intention to delve into your privacy without caution or distract you with my intents and purposeful endeavour. I have decided to reach you with the hope of building a relationship of trust, reliance and confidence which you will come to understand and appreciate in the near future. I am Francis Chu.JP, Executive Director, Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). Your contact details was taken from the United Kingdom public record registry, in the quest for a last name similar to that of a late customer from my bank, an oil Magnate that lived in Hong Kong for about nine years. He passed on with his immediate family in a ghastly motor accident along with his family in the City Of Guangzhou in May 2009, without appointing a next of kin to his estate.
Before the above mentioned ugly catastrophe that cause his death, a lump sum deposit of $47,100,000.00 (Forty Seven Million One Hundred Thousand USD) was placed under my bank's custody for safe keeping. I want you to understand that during my bank end of year audit 2014, there was a board decision that all unclaimed fund concerning Inheritance should be declared bad claims to enable the bank to relocate itself against accumulated debts. During my responsibility, I discovered this $47.1M USD was left unclaimed ever since. On the condition that you bear the same last name with the deceased oil magnet, it has prompted me to present you as his beneficiary to apply and claim the deposit he had with my bank, to avoid the confiscation of the said funds by the authorities and returned to the treasury of the bank of Hong Kong as unclaimed proceeds of trade and deposit from late customers. Following the reasons that we operate in compliance with the Hong Kong laws, such proceeds is conferred to the governments treasu
I chose you because you share the same last name with my late client; I know you are not related but after countless efforts to locate direct relative to the late client, due to the (6) six months final notice from the Bank to find a beneficiary to the fund, and failure to meet up with this deadline means the fund will be liquidated to the Bureau as unclaimed fund.
I want you to know all phase of this transaction will be done in a legal means that would keep us far from trouble. I have access to every document that would register you as the beneficiary of the fund. My anticipated percentages for sharing shall be fair enough 50% for me, 45% for you and 5% for charity and to take care of expenditures. I await your feedback, so I can furnish you with the necessary details to get started.