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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Hassan Buko <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2010 02:30:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Urgent and confidential message
DearFriend, I know thatthis letter may come to you as a surprise; I got your contact address from thecomputerized search. My name is Mr Hassan Buko, I am the Bill and Exchange(assistant) Manager of Africa Development Bank Ouagadougou , Burkina Faso .In my department I discovered an abandoned sum of Eighteen million threehundred thousand United State of American dollars (18.3MILLION USA DOLLARS) inan account that belongs to one of our foreign customer Mr John Korovo fromJordan who died along with his family in Siber airline that crashed into sea atIsrael on 4th October 1997. Since I gotinformation about his death I have been expecting his next of kin to come overand claim his money because we can not release it unless somebody applies forit as the next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our bankingguidelines, but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin orrelation died alongside with him in the plane crash leaving
nobody behind forthe claim. It is therefore upon this discovery that I decided to make thisbusiness proposal to you and release the money to you as next of kin orrelation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody iscoming for it and I don't want the money to go into the bank treasury asunclaimed bill. Amcontacting you because our deceased customer is a foreigner and a Burkinabe cannot stand as a next of kin to foreign customer. The banking guidelinesstipulate that the fund should be transferred into the bank treasury after 13years if nobody is coming for the claim. I have agreed that 40% of this moneywill be for you as foreign partner in respect to the provision of your accountfor the transfer, 2% will be set aside for expenses that might occurred duringthe business and 58% would be for me, after which I shall visit your countryfor disbursement according to the percentage as indicated. Please I wouldlike you to keep this
transaction confidential and as a top secret as you maywish to know that I'm still a civil servant. As soon as I receive your reply Iwill give you the full details of the transaction and is 100% risk free. Yours sincerely, Mr.Hassan Buko