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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Abdul Kadir" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2010 05:29:08 +0200 (CEST)
My name is Abdul Kadir Bin Senin, a manager in the Bank of China,
International branch in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is an investment
proposition for you.
On November 6, 2002, a Russian engineer with the Harbin Aircraft
Manufacturing Corporation, made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve
calendar months, valued at USD60,000,000 (Sixty Million Dollars) in my
branch. Upon maturity, a routine notification was sent to his forwarding
address but no reply was received.
After a month, I sent another reminder and finally discovered from his
contract employers, the Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation that he
died from an automobile accident. On further investigation by my
Attorneys, I found out that he died without making a WILL. I therefore
made further investigation and discovered that he did not declare any next
of kin or relations in all his official documents, including his Bank
Deposit paperwork in my Bank. This sum of USD60,000,000 is still sitting
in my Bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at
the end of each year.
It is now apparent that no one will ever come forward to claim these funds
and according to the Malaysian Laws, at the expiration of 6 (six) years,
the money will revert to the ownership of the Malaysian Government if
nobody applies to claim the funds.
Consequently, my proposal is that I would like you as a foreigner to stand
in as the next of kin, so that the fruits of this man's labor will not get
into the hands of some corrupt government officials. This is simple, as my
attorney's would prepare all the necessary legal documents and affidavits
that will put you in place as the next of kin.
My attorney's would draft and notarize the WILL and also obtain all
necessary documents and letter of probate/administration in your favor for
the transfer to any designated bank account(s) in any part of the world
that you will provide, as next of kin. For your role in this transaction,
you would be entitled to 40% of the principal amount plus any accrued
If you are interested, please reply immediately to my private email
included below as my official lines are not secure. If you are not
interested, I would plead with you not to get me into any troubles as I am
a family man; I have a wife and children. I send you this mail not without
a measure of fear as to what the consequences. I am doing this now,
because it is my greatest opportunity to change the wrongs in my life and
live my dreams. I have worked so hard all of my life and have little or
nothing to show for it.
We would need to know each other a little more before I can provide you
with more details to help you understand this transaction. In due course,
all relevant documents would also be forwarded to you. Please observe
utmost confidentiality and be rest assured that this transaction would be
most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to
invest my share in your country.
Awaiting your prompt reply via this email: firstname.lastname@example.org ;
Thanks and regards.
Abdul Kadir Bin Senin.