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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Mohamed Ali <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 06:06:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: URGENT ATTENTION NEEDED.
Dear Friend, I want to contact you with real sense of humanity which I hope that you will be there always for me as my Partner !! I got your contact from your country web-site, while surfing through internet that gives me an access to reach you. I am in a situation that required someone special, whom I can trust as a partner.
I am the manager of Auditing and Accounting Department of Bank Of Africa (B.O.A) here in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of US$20.5m dollars (TWENTY MILION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer (MR. ANDREAS SCHRANNER from Munich, Germany) who died along with his entire family in July 2000 in a plane crash,
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless some body applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidlings and laws but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
It is therefore upon this discovery that I now decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it and we don't want this money to go into the bank treasury as unclaimed bill.
I agree that 30% of this money will be for you as a respect to the provision of a foriegn account , 10% will be set aside for expenses incurred during the business and 60% would be for me Thereafter, I will visit your country for disbursement according to the percentage indicated Therefore, to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you arranged,you must apply first to the bank as relation or next of kin of the deceased with a text of application form that i will send to you when i hear from you,so i will like you to send to me your private telephone and fax number for easy and effective communication and location where in the money will be remitted.
Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the application . I will not fail to bring to your notice this transaction is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer. You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive my letter.
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
Mr. Mohamed Ali
Yours Faithfully Manager.