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)
- "huge deposit" (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 next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Charles Brown" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 10:14:36 -0000
Subject: URGENT REQUEST.
Greetings to you and your family, I hope this letter meets you in good health. My name is Charles Brown an attorney based in United Kingdom and I am reaching out to you in respect of an investment opportunity. I am soliciting for your assistance in repatriating the funds and property left behind by my late client before it will be declared unserviceable by the bank where the huge deposit is lodged and confiscated by the government.
On the 3rd day of January 2004, my client and his wife along with their two children were among the victims of Boeing 737 Egyptian Airliner that crashed into the Red Sea. You can read more about the crash by visiting this website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3365769.stm
Please I need your urgent co-operation to retrieve the funds into your account because the British banking policy and guideline stipulates that any unclaimed funds belonging to a deceased person for a period of 8years will be confiscated to the Bank treasury as an unclaimed bill. If you are willing to accept my proposal kindly reply my mail with your detailed information as listed below, thereafter percentages and more information will be relayed to you on my next mail.: 1. Private telephone and fax numbers. 2. Your postal/residential address. 3. Identification/Occupation.
I humbly look forward to your soonest response.
Charles Brown Esq.