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:
- "million 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)
- ",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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Stephen Hester." (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:58:01 +0100
Subject: From Mr.Stephen Hester.
>From Mr.Stephen Hester.
Group Executive Director
Royal Bank Of Scotland
P O Box 10720
London WC2R 1AP
I am Mr Stephen Hester the Group Executive Director. I personally discovered a dormant account with a total sum of $85,000,000.00 [EIGHTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS] during our Bank's Annual Year Account Auditing.
Since the death of the deceased, nobody has operated in this account till date. Moreover, this account has NO BENEFICIARY attached to it.
Definitely, this fund will be confiscated by our BANKING CODE OF ETHICS if it remains dormant for a period of  year without any claims. In this regard, I earnestly need your full cooperation in transferring this money out of our bank to avoid our bank confiscating this fund.
HOW THE TRANSACTION CAN BE HANDLED: As the group finance director of our bank, all our client account details and file are in my possession and that makes it easy for me to include your name as the beneficiary of the fund in all necessary documents involving the money we wish to transfer out from our bank.
Most importantly, you will be required to:
(1).. Act as the original beneficiary of the funds.
(2). Receive the funds into a business/private bank account.
(3). At the completion of this transaction, the sharing rates shall be 50% for me while 50% for you.
Note: I will split the transfer into two 2 stages for easy and smooth transfer. Firstly, the sum of $80,000,000.00 will transfer to any valid foreign account you will nominate, then upon a successful transfer without any disappointment from our side; I will then fly to meet you in your home destination for sharing, thereafter we will jointly transfer the remaining balance of $5,000,000.00. I will also like us to invest some part of the money in your country.
If you accept to work with me, you will be given 50% of the total money as your share and 50%. So the main question is, will you partner me in this transaction. If you are willing to cooperate in this project, Kindly view my identification link below and also contact me through my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org., Have a Pleasant Day.
I AWAIT YOUR URGENT REPLY.
Mr Stephen Hester
Group Chief Executive
Royal Bank Of Scotland