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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Suzana Mendoza" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2010 20:49:35 -0700
From: Mrs. Susana Mendoza.
Credit account officer,
Head office, Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc.
Twr. Mkt Avenue. Cor.H.V Dela Costa Str. Philippines.
Let me start by introducing myself, I am Mrs Susana Mendoza, credit accounts officer Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc., Philippines. I am writing you this letter based on the latest development at my bank which I will like to bring to your knowledge.
I am a top official in charge of foreign client accounts. In 2001, my client was going through a horrendous divorce in the USA and was on the verge of losing most of his estate to his vicious wife. As a result of this alarming predicament, my client came to me with a very brilliant idea since he didnt want to lose all to his crazy wife. He transferred some funds totally US$10.2Million to a fixed deposit account in my bank under an alias which only the two of us knew about as the confidentiality of the matter was necessary for his protection.
Due to his untimely death in early 2002, the funds have been sitting in the account ever since and will continue to do so perpetually unless we do something about it. Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I would like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to my client so that you will be able to receive these funds.
Please note that only a foreigner can take possession of the funds since my client was a foreigner as well. I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we can come out successful. I have contacted an attorney that will prepare the necessary document that will back you up as the next of kin to my client.
All that is required from you at this stage is for you to provide me with your full names and address and telephone number so that the attorney can commence his job. The allocation of our money will be as follows: 30%($3.06M) to you for your part in this, 70% for me. This should be kept very secret and confidential. I believe you know. I wait for your response with contact details.
Mrs Susana Mendoza