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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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 amount 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.David Mark" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 16:50:09 +0200
Subject: Mr.David Mark,
I hope this letter finds you well,
While this email will definitely be coming to you as a surprise, please take a moment of your time to read this. It is very important. I am Mr. David Mark, working in a Finance house.
However I got your address through the International web directory online. During our recent reconciliation and auditing of our Finance house accounts, my department discovered an over dormant account with a huge amount of money valued at US$ 8,500,000.00 (Eight million, five hundred thousand, United State dollars Only) that belongs to one of our late customers;.
He has passed away (dead) leaving no beneficiary to the account. So the funds have been dormant in his account with this Finance house without any claim or activity on it for quite some time.
Due to our Finance house regulations, It is only a foreigner that can stand as a next of kin and it is upon this discovery that I decided to contact you to collaborate with you to reactivate these dormant funds. So to avert any negative development and chance losing these funds forever.
I want you to stand in as next of kin to our late customer so that the fund will be released to you.
For Further information and confidentiality please contact me on my personal email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your following data: Full names, Address, Telephone number and Fax number.
I look forward to hearing from you.