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)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Maxwell Zoro" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 16:48:29 +0900
Subject: Dear Trusted Partner
>From The Desk OF Mr. Maxwell Zoro.
Auditing And Accounting Manager,
Everything that happens to one has spiritual significance. I was just leafing through the profiles of some names in the internet before I came through your name. Though, the internet has been grossly abused by scam artist and miscreants whose intention is to hurt. In as much as one should be careful, same time we should not allow negative to kill the positive potential in a realistic business. I have chosen to reach you because I felt that business is taking risk, going from the known to the unknown.
I am the manager of Accounts/Operations Department of a Prime banks here in Abidjan Ivory Coast. In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of (US$16.5,million US dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer retired Atlanta physician Mr.George Brumley Jr, who died in the chartered plane which crashed on mount kenyan in the kenyan city of sumburu on 21st july 2003 .For more informations about the crash you can visit this site:
Since we got information about his death,we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless some body applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidlings and laws but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim. It is therefore upon this discovery that I now decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it and we don't want this money to go into the bank treasury as unclaimed bill.
The banking law and guidline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after eight years, the money will be transfered into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occassioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and an Ivoirienne cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner. I agree that 50% of this money will be for you as a respect to the provision of a foriegn account, and 50% would be for me Thereafter,I will visit your country for disbursement according to the percentage indicated Therefore, to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you arranged,you must apply first to the bank as relation or next of kin of the deceased with a text of application that i will send to you,so i will like you to send to me your private telephone and fax number for easy and effective communication and location where in the money will be remitted.
Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the application.I will not fail to bring to your notice this transaction is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer. You should contact me immediately as soon as you received this letter.Trusting to hear from you immediately.
1. Full Name
2. Date of bairth
3. Your Telephone Number and Fax Number
4. Your Contact Address.
Mr. Maxwell Zoro.