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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "to your nominated bank 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)
- "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)
- "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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "john gelsthorp" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2009 22:36:21 -0800
Subject: accountant request
My name is Mr. John Gelsthorp. I am the accountant of the FinBank Plc Victoria Island Lagos. I am married with two kids.
I am writing to solicit your assistance in the noble transfer of US$3,800,000.00 (Three Million, Eight Hundred Thousand US Dollars). This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am the accountant made as profit last year. I have already submitted an approved end year report for 2008 and also submitted report of first quarter of this year 2009 to my Head Office here in Lagos and they will never know of this Excess. I have placed this fund on a SUSPENCE ACCOUNT without a beneficiary.
As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account. I intend to part with 30% of this fund to you while 70% shall be for me. I do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. It is going to be a bank-to-bank transfer to your nominated bank account anywhere you feel safe. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund.
If you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely response.
Mr. John Gelsthorp