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:
- "please indicate your interest" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (I12; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "KELVIN GRANT" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 18:56:47 +0100
Subject: I await your "Acceptance Letter
I await your "Acceptance Letter"...(06/03/10)
THIS IS FOR YOUR ATTENTION.
We are conducting a standard process investigation on behalf of "HSBC LONDON".
This investigation involves a client who shares the same surname with you and also the
circumstances surrounding investments made by this client at HSBC LONDON. The client
died and nominated no successor in title over the investments made with the bank. I
contacted you because you share the same SURNAME with the deceased and for that reason
I am seeking your consent to present you as next of Kin and have his deposit released
to you. We share the proceeds in the ratio of 50% each.
As soon as I get your consent on this matter, we will seek the services of a UK based
Lawyer that will secure the change of beneficiary and other relevant documents in your
favoUr as beneficiary/next of kin at the Justice Ministry here in United Kingdom. Once
that is done, you will apply for the funds to be transferred to your local bank
account. To indicate your interest in this transaction, I will advise you furnish me
with the following details for easy and effective communication
Your full names, Age, Address, Telephone/Cell, fax numbers if available.
If you deem it fit to be part of this great promising venture, please indicate your
interest by responding to this notice via my personal email address: email@example.com