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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: frank alonso <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2020 14:19:54 +0200
Subject: Money unclaimed
I got your contact from internet wed directory during my search for a
foreigner for this deal and I decided to reach you because presently am in
desperate need of a trusted worthy Foreign person for this proposal. I am
Mr. Mr Mike Dubbe, Assistant Branch Manager, Standard Bank of South Africa
(SBASA).In January 2010, one of my customers by name Alex Carlos from
Mexico, who was a consultant/contractor with the Federal Ministry of Mines
and Power here in South Africa, made a number time deposit, valued at
$11,500,000.00 (Eleven Million, Five hundred Thousand United States
Dollars) for twelve (12) calendar months in my Bank branch and since 2010,
this account has never be operated.
Upon maturity, we sent a notification to his forwarding address but got no
reply. After a month, we sent a remainder and finally I discovered from his
contract employers that he is no longer on earth because he died with his
entire family on a plane crash that occurred in Libya on the 12th of May
The said fund is still in the bank and the interest is being rolled over
with the principal sum at the end of each year. Now the fund is
$12,200,000.00 (Twelve Million Two Hundred Thousand US Dollars) because of
the accumulated interest.
In accordance with South Africa governments law, at the expiration of (11)
(Eleven) years, the money will be reverted back to the ownership of the
government of South Africa if nobody comes for the claim.
Consequently, I want to present you as the next of kin to this late
customer; hence you are a foreigner like him and the funds will be
transferred to your Bank account and after the successful transfer of the
funds, I will come over to your country for the shearing and the money will
be shared in the ratio of 45% for me, 45% for you and 10% to cover our
expenses after the deal.
There is no risk involved, as I will used my position as the assistant
branch manager to secure approvals and guarantee the successful execution
of this transaction within 9- working days.
If this proposal interests you, let me know by sending me an email and I
will send to you detailed Information on how this business would be
successfully transacted. Be informed that nobody knows about the secret of
this fund except me and I know how to carry out the entire transaction.
Please include your private phone number for a voice talk and reply me
through the email below: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Mike Dubbe.