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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Dale St.Jones" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 07:38:16 -0800 (PST)
I am Mr. Dale St.Jones,Senior Staff with a Bank here in Cotonou Benin Republic. I got your contact while searching for a reliable someone to contact for this transaction in regards to a business transfer for a huge sum of money in a dormant account. I need your assistance to transfer to overseas Nine Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars Only (US$9,550.000.00). I am seeking your humble assistance to provide either an existing bank account or set up a new Bank account to receive this fund, even an empty account can serve this purpose, or you help to seek an honest and, reliable businessman who can assist us.
Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that this transaction is being handled by me and my colleagues, who are also departmental heads in the same bank. We decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction. During the course of our auditing we discovered a floating fund in a domiciliary account opened in the bank in 2000 and since 2004 nobody has operated on this account, after going through some old files in the records we discovered that the owner of the account who is a foreigner died in Madrid Bombing of 11th of March 2004,without any traceable next of kin hence the dormant nature of the account and if nobody come to claim this funds it will be re- channel to government coffers as unclaimed funds.
I am only contacting you as a foreigner that can handle transactions maturedly because this money cannot be approved for a local account as the depositor is a foreigner, the fund can only be approved to a foreigner or into a foreign account. I need your full co-operation to make this project a success, There is no risk at all, the paperwork for this transaction will be done by an attorney and my position guarantees the successful execution of this transaction. If you are interested and know that you will not sit on this money after its successful transfer to you, please reply immediately and upon your response, I shall provide you with more details on what to do. Please observe utmost confidentiality and be rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us.
Upon your response I will inform you on the steps ahead and your compensation for providing an account for this transaction. If you find yourself capable of working with me, contact me through email address below. Please observe this instruction with the utmost care. I send you this letter not without a measure of fear as to what the consequences may be, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. If this proposal is acceptable by you, do not take undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed in you, I await your swift response via my personal mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Dale St.Jones