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:
- "processing fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "into 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)
- ",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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Alexandra de Keyser" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 2010 14:13:20 +0100
Alexandra de Keyser
Alexandra's Attorney ( ID 447778)
10 Upper Bank Street
We wish to notify you again that you we have unanimously agreed through a resolution reached in a meeting of our board of trustee to nominate you as a beneficiary to the total sum of (Eleven Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Thousand United State Dollar) presently under the custody of a Bank here in UK. The deceased (Name now withheld since this is our second letter to you). We contacted you basically because you bear the same surname identity of the deceased which obviously we know you dont have or rather have never had any relationship whatsoever with the deceased at any given times during his life time.
As lawyers to the deceased we cannot lay claim to this funds which is about to be forfeited to the British Crown because the bank account has been dormant for the proceeding Six years without claim and according to the British law, the money will revert to the treasury of the British government if nobody applies to claim the funds within the next six months with a satisfactory proof of claim. Being lawyers to the deceased for the past fifteen years before his demise, we have all it takes to satisfactorily present you as the next of kin to the deceased for this claim.We shall be happy to prepare wills, set-up and administer trusts, carry out the administration of estates, prepare and administer powers of attorney. All the papers will be processed in your acceptance.Our legal services aim to provide our private clients with a complete service on this matter to ensure a swift and successful process which will be carried out within the limit of the law.
To avoid this money being sent to the British Treasury as unclaimed funds, it is on this note I sorted your surname in your high commission here, made some preliminary inquiries about your person without disclosing my real intension anyway, and hereby crave your indulgence since you bear the same surnames as we can therefore present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance, since there is no written will.
At your acceptance of this deal, we request that you kindly send to us your current telephone and fax numbers, your official and residential address and a valid form of identification of yourself, either your drivers license or first three pages of your international passport to enable us file necessary documents at our high court probate division for the release of this sum of money in your favor.
It was agreed also that your share in this deal after a successful transfer of the money into your nominated bank account will be 30% of the entire sum calculated to be $3,459,000.00 (Three Million Four Hundred and Fifty Nine Thousand U S Dollars) $8,000,000.00 (Eight Million U S Dollars) will be our share, I will be coming personally to meet with you to receive our share.We have calculated the entire transaction to cost us $71,000.00 (Seventy One Thousand U S Dollars) as administrative/processing fee, ranging from probate court processing fee to bank administrative charges. This deal being a partnership business, you the second partner, will participate partially in the expenses.
I want want to re-assure you that we have the legal might, documentary facts to establish your claim of this money as the next of kin to the deceased without hitches.
Alexandra de Keyser
Associate Partnere Keyser