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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2010 19:04:54 -0800
Subject: Urgent Transfer Assistance
I am Mr. Micheal James the system and control manager at a Security and Finance Company here in South Africa..I am writing this letter to solicit for support and assistance from you to carry out this business opportunity from my country. Lying in an inactive account placed with the security firm is the Sum of $12.5Million Dollars belonging to a foreign customer (Michael Gambone) who was a Gold/Mining consultant here in South Africa, and happened to be killed during a business trip. He died with his wife (Deborah Gambone) on board the Swissair Flight 111 , which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Nova Scotia in September 2nd 1998.
The news of this crash was on the news through which we have attempted locating his relatives to no avail. See links below for more detailed information:
Ever since he died the bank has been expecting his next of kin to come forth to claim these funds. To this effect, we can not release the money unless someone applies for it as next of kin, as indicated in our banking guidelines. Unfortunately he has no family member in South Africa or
Over-seas who are aware of the existence of the money (as he was a gas consultant.) At this juncture I have decided to do business with you.
To this effect I solicit your assistance in applying as the next of kin to the Security and Finance Company so the money will be released to you, as I do not want this money to go into the Security and Finance Company treasury as an unclaimed bill, because the financial laws and guidelines stipulate that if such money(s) remain unclaimed for a period , the money will be transferred into the Security and Finance Company treasury as an unclaimed bill.
My request for a foreigner as next of kin is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a South African National cannot stand as next of kin. 40% of the money will be your share as a foreign partner and your assistance to actualize this business, 5% for any expenses
incurred. Thereafter i will visit your country with your help once the money hits your account for disbursement according to the percentage indicated.
To affect the immediate transfer of the fund to you as agreed, you must apply first to the security firm as the next of kin to the deceased, and then we will follow up all formalities for the transaction. Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you, the text of the application you are to send
to the Security firm, and further clarify you in other issues as to effect this business.
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org for a more conclusive communications.
Waiting to hear from you urgently.
Mr. Micheal James