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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "first national bank" (not involved with lotteries)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- ",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)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "chief auditor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 JOHN SFIZO" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 10:15:59 +0200
Subject: VERY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL FOR YOU.
MR JOHN SFIZO
THE CHIEF AUDITOR (F.N.B).
Telephone; +27 76 047 6608.
contact E-mail: email@example.com
I know that this massage will come as a surprise to you since we dont know each other, but for the purpose of introduction, I am Mr John Sfizo,THE CHIEF AUDITOR of First National Bank of South Africa (F.N.B). There is an account opened in this bank in 1998 and since 2004, nobody has operated on this account again. After going through some files in the records, I discovered that if I do not remit this money urgently, it would be returned to the treasury.
The owner of the account is Mr. Smith Andreas, a foreigner and miner at Kruger Gold Co., a geologist by profession and he died. Since 2003, no other person knows about this account or anything concerning it. The account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that his company does not know anything about this account and the amount involved is US$18,500,000.00 (Eighteen million, five hundred thousand united states dollars).
I am only contacting you as a foreigner because the money cannot be approved to a local bank here but can only be approved to any foreign account because the money is in United States dollars and the former owner of the account Mr. Smith Andreas also a foreigner.
Please reply urgently so that I can inform you of the process and procedure to actualize this transaction. Send also your private phone numbers, email address including details of the account to be used for the deposit. I want us to meet face to face or sign a binding agreement to bind us together so that you can receive this money into a foreign account or any account of your choice where the funds will be safe. I will fly to your country for withdrawal and sharing and other investments. I need your full co-operation to make this project succeed because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has correct information of this account, which I will give to you later immediately if you are capable and willing to handle such amount in strict confidence and trust according to my instructions and advice for our mutual benefit because this opportunity may never come again in my life. I need a truthful person in this business because I dont want to make !
mistakes. I need your strong assur
With my position now in my office, I wil get the neccassry approvals for the transfer of this money to any reliable account that you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending my physical arrival in your country for sharing. Transfer will be completed through a corresponding bank and I will destroy all documents of transaction immediately we receive this money leaving no trace to any place. You can also come to discuss with me face to face after which I will make this remittance in your presence and two of us will fly to your country at least two days ahead of the money going into your account.
I will apply for annual leave to get visa immediately I hear from you that you are ready to receive this fund in your account. I will use my position and influence to effect legal approvals and onward transfer of this money to your account via a coresponding bank with appropriate clearance forms of the ministries and foreign exchange departments. At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 25% of the total amount, 70% will be for me while 5% will be for expenses that will be incurred during the process of transferring. I look forward to your earliest reply through my e-mail address:
Mr John Sfizo
Telephone; +27 76 047 6608.
contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org