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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Volny Ceanz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 16:54:43 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: From: Mr. Volny Ceanz
From: Mr. Volny Ceanz
I guess this letter might come to you as a surprise since I had no previous correspondence with you, But with due respect I got your contact from the internet in my research for a reliable and trustworthy person who will be fit and capable to assist me in handling a very confidential business transaction involving the transfer of US35.5 million dollars only. The above fund is not connected with arms, drugs or Money laundering; neither is it related to any terrorist sponsor of any sort.
I am Volny Ceanz, an accountant and a branch manager, The Board members with the office of the Director, International Remittances/Foreign Operation, has approved and accredited this reputed bank to handle and transfer all foreign inheritance funds this final quota of the year. During the course of my annual general auditing, I discovered a domiciliary account that has not been operated, for three years I have kept this secret within myself. Now, I decided to seek your full co-operation and partnership to move out these funds urgently. Hence; the dormant nature of the account and without any traceable next of kin, if I do not remit the funds out urgently, the account will be confiscated and the funds will be re-channeled into the government purse to be shared among themselves.
All I need from you is to stand as the beneficiary to this dormant account and to provide either an existing bank account or set up a new Bank account immediately to receive this fund or you help to seek an honest and reliable businessman who can assist us. I am only contacting you as a foreigner because these funds cannot be approved for a local account here and I am not supposed to be in possession of such amount of dollars. But the funds can only be approved to any foreigner whom I present as the beneficiary to the funds.
I will use my position in the Bank to do all the underground work and hasten the approval and release of the funds in your favor. I will be monitoring the whole situation here in this bank until you confirm the funds in your account and ask me to come over to your country for our subsequent sharing of the fund according by percentages. This transaction will only take us 14 Banking days to finalize. So do not border or entertain any atom of fears as all modalities has been mapped out for us achieve success and this is my 25 yrs in the banking industry.
At the successful completion of the transaction, You shall be compensated with 35% of the funds for standing in as the beneficiary while 5% will be mapped out to offset any expenses that might arise in the course of the transfer, 10% will be channeled to charity and 50% to me the originator of the Business.
I need your full co-operation to make this work fine, as I will use my office to see that the transaction is hitch free and will destroy entire documents relating to the transaction once we conclude the Deal. Please, you have been advice to keep "top secret" for now as I am still in service and intend to retire after we conclude this deal. Further details about this transaction will be discussed in the subsequent correspondence.
Mr. Volny Ceanz
Director Auditing Department
Lloyds TSB Bank
London, United Kingdom.