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: "Anderson & Associates" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2010 14:04:20 +0200
Subject: Re: We are not sure you received our previous letter
We are not sure you received our previous letter wherein we expressed our grave concerns about an estate of a member of your family lineage who died intestate. As stated in our previous letter, the bank is at the verge of closing the account of high value which is now dormant belonging apparently to one of your family members who reportedly died intestates five years ago leaving behind a substantial amount of money in a bank account here in Spain.
In view of the above, we have been retained to administer the estate and would like to discuss certain privileged information with you accordingly because you have been identified and located as an only suitable heir apparent to the estate since you share the last name of the deceased. We would respectfully request that you treat the content of this letter as privileged and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this correspondence.
It might interest you to know that every year in Spain thousands of people (especially foreigners) die without leaving a will thereby forfeiting so much money to the government as unclaimed estate. There is a time limit at the discretion of the Treasury Department when claiming such inheritance hence the need to act swiftly to reconcile this account.
In a recent news report, "there is currently more than $30 billion in unclaimed money and with the total of unclaimed money rising faster than people claiming, it is projected that in the year 2020 there could be as much as $40 billion of unclaimed money. Aging population is adding more significantly to this number". This is what prompted us to locate you and legally empower you to claim the estate before it becomes too late.
In compliance with standard requirements of the federal disclosure and privacy laws which prohibit us from revealing certain privileged information without due process, we intentionally left out certain information which we deemed proprietary at this point and to enable us double-check our record and ensure that you are indeed the addressee of this letter, we need you to reconfirm your information by providing us with your full names (no initial please); your date of birth; your current occupation; contact address and your telephone/fax numbers. Once we reconfirm your information and endorse same appropriately, we shall provide you with all the privileged information/legal documents relating to the deceased customer and his term-deposit account and also will give you guidelines on how we intend to realise this goal without the breach of the law.
For further information, do not hesitate to contact us. We thank you for your attention and look forward to hearing from you shortly.
Waiting for your reply,
Pablo Abad Anderson, Partner.