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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "contact me immediately" (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: "Mr.Jason smith" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 14:50:26 +0530 (IST)
My name is Mr.Jason smith, I am the credit manager in a bank here in the
United Kingdom. I am contacting you of a business transfer, of a huge sum
of money from a deceased account. Though I know that a transaction of
this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am
assuring you that everything has been
taken care off, and all will be well at the end of the day. I decided to
contact you due to the urgency of this transaction. PROPOSITION; I am the
account officer of a foreigner named Richard Burson who died in an air
crash along with his wife on the 31st October 1999 in an Egyptian airline
990 with other passengers on board. You can confirm this from the website
below which was published by BBC WORLD NEWS. WEBSITE.
Since his death, none of his next-of-kin are alive to make claims for
this money as his heir, because they all died in the same accident
himself and his wife (May their soul rest in peace). We cannot release
the fund from his account unless someone applies for claim as the
next-of-kin to the deceased as indicated
in our banking guidelines. Upon this discovery, I now seek your
permission to have you stand as a next of kin to the deceased, as all
documentations will be carefully worked out by me for the funds
(£7,800,000.00) seven million eight hundred thousand pounds to be
released in your favor as the beneficiary's next of kin. Because after
ten years the money will be called back to the bank
treasury as unclaimed bills and the money shared amongst the directors of
the bank. so it is on this note i decided to seek for whom his name shall
be used as the next of kin/beneficiary to this funds rather than allow
the bank directors to share this money amongst themselves at the end of
the year. It may interest
you to know that we have secured from the probate an order of mandamus to
locate any of the deceased beneficiaries. Please acknowledge receipt of
this message in acceptance of our mutual business endeavor by furnishing
me with the following
information if you are interested.
1. A Beneficiary name..In order for me to prepare the document for
transfer of the funds in your name.
2. Direct Telephone and fax numbers...For our personal contact and mutual
trust in each other. (50/50)share for both party 50% comes to my account
and 50% to your account. I intend to retire after the conclusion of this
If this proposal is acceptable by you, please endeavor to contact me
immediately. Do not take undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed in
you, I await your urgent mail.