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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",000,000" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MICHALIS PANTAZIS" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 11:34:46 +0100
Subject: ***SPAM*** DEAL to be executed.
FROM THE DESK OF:MICHALIS PANTAZIS
Compliments of the season and good day.I am Michalis Pantazis,the treasury and planning department manager at the Universal Bankltd here in Nicosia,Cyprus,i am writing this letter to solicit for support and assistance from you to carry out this business opportunity in my bank.
Lying in an inactive account is the sum of Four Million Euros(4,000,000euros) belonging to a foreign customer(Caripides William) who was a gas consultant here in Cyprus,he happened to be deceased during a business trip with his wife and only son(Caripides Gabriella and Peter) on board the Swissair Flight 111 , which crashed into the Atlantic off Nova Scotia in september 2nd 1998.
Info of this crash was on the news which we have tried to notify his relatives but to no avail,see link below for more detailed information:
Ever since he died the bank has been expecting his next of kin to come and claim these fund which cannot be released unless someone applies for it as next of kin, as indicated in our banking guidelines,unfortunately he has no family member in Cyprus or Over-sea who are aware of the existence of the money,at this juncture, i have decided to do business with you by soliciting your assistance in applying as the next of kin to the bank then the money will be released to you,as i do not want the money to go into the bank treasury as an unclaimed bill,because the banking laws and guidelines stipulates that if such money(s) remains unclaimed for a period of eleven years(11yrs),the money will be moved into the bank treasury as an unclaimed bill.
My request for a foreigner as next of kin is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a Cypriot cannot stand as next of kin.
50% of the money will be your share as a foreign partner and your assistance to actualise this deal,thereafter i will visit your country with your help once the money hits your account for disbursement according to the percentage indicated.
To effect the immediate transfer of the fund to you as agreed,you must apply first to the bank as the next of kin to the deceased,then we will follow up all formalities for the transaction.
Upon receipt of your reply, i will send to you, the text of application you are to send to the bank,and further clearify you in other issues as to effect this business.
Awaiting to hear from you urgently.