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:
- "million 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)
- "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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr.Mike Johnson." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 03:23:58 -0800 (PST)
Subject: How are you doing with your family?
From: Dr. Mike Johnson
How are you doing with your family? I Hope all is fine. Kindly pay attention and understand my aim of communicating you today through this letter.
My name is Dr.Mike Johnson Assistant Regional Managing Director, Rivers bank of London - East Anglia and Northern Home Counties London. I have decided to seek a confidential co-operation with you in the execution of the deal described here-under for our both mutual benefit and hope you will keep it a top secret because of the nature of the business. During the course of our banking year auditing, I discovered an unclaimed/abandoned fund, sum of $5,500, 000 USD (five Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers (Late Mr . Morrison Thompson) an American who unfortunately lost his life, in the plane crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which crashed on January 31st, 2000.
My choice of contacting you aroused from the geographical nature of where you live, particularly due to the sensitivity nature of the transaction and the confidentiality herein. Now our bank has been waiting for any of the relatives to come-up for the claim but nobody has done that. I personally has been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for 8 years now, I sincerely seek your consent to present you as the next of kin / Will Beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at $5.5 Million Dollars can be paid to you, which we will disbursed or shared in these percentages ratio, 60% to me and 40% to you.
All that I require now is your honest Co-operation, Confidentiality and Trust to enable us sees this transaction through successfully. I assure you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law both in your country and Here in London once the fund is transferred to your bank account, upon your acceptance of this offer, please proceed immediately and send to me without delay the following information.
-Your Full Name,
-Your Contact Address
- Your Occupation
- Your Age &
-Your Direct phone or Mobile Telephone Number.
This will enable me to upload your information in our bank database to reflect in the bank system immediately, that you are the next of kin/will beneficiary of this fund and I will advise you on how to communicate with the bank for onward transfer of the fund to you. Please note that we have few days to carry out this transaction deal. Your kind urgent response will be highly appreciated.
Thanking you in anticipation for your prompt response.