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:
- "transfer into your account" (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)
- "100% hitch free" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.John Stendahl LLP" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 17:28:02 +0200
I seek your assistance on a business transaction that will be of mutual benefits.Please, read below the details of this transaction and what is required of you to get this transaction started: Mr. Mr. Gregory John Kenzig was my client for over a decade. He died in a auto accident in June 2007. He had a deposit in the sum of US$15M with a finance firm in the Netherlands .
I, as the attorney to late Mr. Gregory John Kenzig is the only person that knows about the investment I did on his behalf in a Finance house in Netherlands . I have contacted you so I can present you to the finance firm as the beneficiary of the US$15M.
If you are interested in carrying out this viable transaction with me, you are to email me your full name, address, telephone and fax number; I will prepare, sign and email you a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for you to sign and email or fax a copy back to me. The MOU as an agreement will state the sharing ratio. It will also state that none of the proceeds will be used for any illegal activity.
After we both sign the MOU, I will then obtain the letter of administration from the probate office thereby making you the bona fide beneficiary of the funds.
I will forward to the Finance Company where the funds are deposited, the letter of administration and a covering letter from my firm, stating I was instructed by the late Gregory John Kenzig to transfer the title to the US$15M to you.
The Finance company will then contact you to let you know the funds have been approved for transfer into your account. The finance company will invite you to come over to their office to sign the funds release documents.
When the funds are transferred into your nominated account, I will then travel to meet with you to share the proceeds. I will take 80% and you will take 20%.I will exhort you to treat this transaction with the dedication it deserves. The need for absolute confidentiality in this transaction cannot be over emphasized.
I have perfected the modalities for the transfer and I assure you it will be 100% hitch free as long as you follow my instruction.
Thank you and God bless.
John Stendahl LLB.