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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "you will be entitled to 30%" (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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Union Bank Plc" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 11:32:08 +0100
Subject: Kindly Reply With Details,
Union Bank Nigeria Plc
Stallion Plaza, 36 Marina Street
Lagos island Nigeria.
I am Mr. Douglas Duke, director in charge of Auditing and Accounting section, Union Bank Nigeria Plc, Nigeria, and also Chairman of Investigating and Auditing Department of this Bank. With due respect, I have decided to contact you on a Business Transaction that will be very of mutual benefit to us.
During our Investigation and Auditing in this Bank, my department came across a very huge sum of money belonging to one deceased Mr. Andreas Schranner 64years, of Munich, a German who died along with his entire family in July 2000 in a plane crash, you can as well confirm it by yourself through the stated Website of the incident http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm
Although personally, I keep this information secret within myself and partners to enable the whole plans and idea be profitable and successful during the time of execution. The said amount is $8.5M (Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars). As it may interest you to know, I got your impressive information through one of my good friends who work with Chamber of Commerce on foreign business relations in United States though I did not disclose the deal to him.
Meanwhile as a senior staff in this bank and the director of auditing and accounting, I have in my possession all the necessary documents to perfect this deal by making you the real Next of Kin/Partner whom this money will be transferred into your account.
Upon the successful completion of this transaction, you will be entitled to 30% of the total sum as gratification, while 70% will be for me and my Colleagues. Please you have been advised to keep this "Top Secret" as we are still in service and intend to retire from service after we conclude this deal with you. And I assure you that this transaction will not last more than seven working days and you shall confirm the money in your account.
I will be monitoring the whole situation here in this bank until you confirm the money in your account, and ask us to come down to your country for subsequent sharing of the fund according to percentages previously indicated and further investment, either in your country or any country you advice us to invest in.
Please send your response through my alternative email addresses below for security measures. Thank you as I wait for your urgent response. Always respond to me here: email@example.com
Mr. Douglas Duke.