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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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: "Vincent Cheng" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 2010 21:54:25 -0500
Subject: Awaiting your response..
Am Mr.V.C.H.Cheng, of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited,
Hong Kong . I am getting in touch with you regarding the estate of a deceased
client with similar last name as yours and an investment placed under our banks
I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail
confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a
result of this mail. I contact you independently and no one is informed of this
In 2003 a Hong Kong businessman who was our Client, made a fixed deposit of
$18.350.000.00(Eighteen million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars only)
in my branch, a number of notices were sent to him when it was due, but no
response came from him till date. We later found out that he along with his
family had been killed in the tsunami disaster that happened in Asia that hit
their home, what bothers me most is according to the laws of my country at the
expiration of 7 years the funds will revert to the Hong Kong Government if
nobody comes for the funds.
After more inquiry it was also discovered that the late business man did not
declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his
bank deposit This means that he died inestate and this is the reason i am
writing you is because you share the same last name What I expect from you is
trust and commitment, I want this large sum of money transferred with your
assistance and you should have nothing to worry about regarding legality AT ALL.
All that is required is your honest co-operation and I guarantee that this will
be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect me and you from any
breach of the law.What I propose is that since I have exclusive access to his
file, you will be made the beneficiary of these funds. You do not have to have
known him personally. I know this might be a bit heavy for you but please trust
me on this. For all your troubles I propose that we split the money in
half(50/50). In the banking circle this happens every ti
me. The other option is that the
Please accept my apologies, keep my confidence and disregard this email if you
do not appreciate this proposal I have offered you. All confirmable documents to
back up this fund shall be made available to you, as we move on; I shall let you
know what is required of you. Your earliest response to this letter will be
appreciated. I want to know if you are willing to follow up this business
seriously before I can give you more details about this transaction
I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and
riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have
learned from my private banking clients. Do not betray my confidence. If we can
be of one accord, we should act swiftly on this. Please get back to me
immediately via the above email.
I await your response.