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)
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "to your nominated bank account" (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 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Sying Huang <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2011 10:38:50 +0100
Subject: Your Help
FROM: MR.SYING HUANG
Bank of China (Hongkong)
Eastern Commercial Centre,
393-407 Hennessy Road,
Firstly i would like to thank you for taking your time to read my email.
Before we go fully into this business let me start by introducing myself
to you . I am Mr. Sying Huang. Before the U.S and Iraqi war our client Mr.
Yousef Lazeeez who was
with the Iraqi forces and also a businessman made a numbered fixed deposit
for 12 calendar months,with a value of Seventeen Million Three Hundred
Thousand United State Dollars only into an account with my branch Bank Of
Upon maturity several notice was sent to him, even during the war.
Again after the war another notification was sent and still no response came
We later found out that the Mr. Yousef Lazeeez and his family had been
killed during the war in bomb blast that hit their home.
After further investigation it was also discovered that Mr. Yousef Lazeeez
not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper
work of his bank deposit. And he also confided in me the last time he was
at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank. So,
Seventeen Million Three Hundred Thousand United State Dollars
(US$17,300,000.00) is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come
forward to claim it. What bothers me most is that according to the laws of
my country at the expiration 7 years the funds will revert to the ownership
of the Hong Kong Government if nobody applies to claim the funds. Against
this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner
to stand as the next of kin to Mr. Yousef Lazeeez so that you will be able to
receive his funds.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE:
I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we shall
come out successful. I will contact my attorney to prepare the necessary
document that will back you up as the next of kin to Mr. Yousef Lazeeez, all
is required from you at this stage is for you to provide me with your Full
Names and Address so that the attorney can commence his job. After you
have been made the next of kin, the attorney will also file in for claims
on your behalf and secure the necessary approval and letter of probate in
your favor for the move of the funds to an account that will be provided
by you. There is no risk involved at all in the matter as we are going to
adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessary
Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning
this issue. Once the fund have been transferred to your nominated bank
account we shall share in the ratio of 50% for me, 50% for you. Should you
be interested please get back to me immediately you receive this email
and I will prefer you to reach me on this email address which is
my private email address and finally after that i shall provide you with
more details of this operation.
Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated. You can contact
me privately on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Sying Huang.
This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.