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.
- 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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:
From: "Albert Wong" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2011 10:47:56 +0800
Subject: Consent Request
Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I got your contact from a computerize data following my effort searching for a trustworthy person to assist me.
I am Albert Wong; a Singaporean and Accountant with HSBC Bank Malaysia. It is with good spirit of heart I opened up this great opportunity to you. A deceased client of mine that shares the same last name as yours died as a result of heart-related condition on March 12th 2005. His heart condition was due to the death of all the members of his family in the tsunami disaster on the 26th December 2004 in Sumatra Indonesia where they all lost their lives. Currently his account of US$7.3 million with us has been unclaimed due to unavailability of next of kin/relatives to claim his estate.
Since none of the family relative is alive to claim this fund, haven waited until now for any relative next of kin to surface in our custody; I decided to contact you fast since you both share the same last name. With your cooperation, I can present you as the relative next of kin to my late client before the funds are confiscated. You dont need to worry yourself in this transaction. I will provide the legal documents in your name and favor.
Hence I am seeking your cooperation and understanding to stand as the deceased next of kin to enable us claim the inheritance before the period given elapse. If you are interested and in agreement to work with me, get back to me with your information and address. I will send to you all our contacts and the information you may need to proceed. The proceedings will be shared 40% for you 50% for me and 10% for any expenses we might incur during this process.