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:
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Vincent Cheung" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 06:37:42 -0800
Subject: I await your response.
Am Mr.Vincent Cheung of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
Hong Kong. I am getting in touch with you regarding the estate of a
Deceased client with similar last name as yours and an investment placed
Under our banks management. I would respectfully request that you keep the
contents of this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the
information you come by as a Result of this mail.
I contact you independently and no one is informed of this communication.
In 2003 a Hong Kong businessman who was our Client, made a fixed deposit
Of $ 18.350.000.00 (Eighteen million Five Hundred Thousand United State
Dollars only) i my branch, a number of notices were sent to him when it was due,
But no response came from him till date. We later found out that he
Along with his family had been killed in the tsunami disaster that
Happened in Asia that hit their home.
What bothers me most is according to the laws of my country at the
Expiration of 7 years the funds will revert to the Hong Kong Government
If nobody comes for the funds.
After more inquiry it was also discovered that the late business man did
Not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper
Work Of his bank deposit This means that he died inestate and this is the
Reason I am writing you is because you share the same last name What I expect
From you Is trust and commitment,
I want this large sum of money transferred with your assistance and you
Should have nothing to worry about regarding legality AT ALL. All that is
Required is your honest co-operation and I guarantee that this will be
Executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect me and you
From any breach of the law.What I propose is that since I have exclusive
Access to his file, you will be made the beneficiary of these funds.
You do not have to have known him personally. I know this might
Be a bit heavy for you but please trust me on this. For all your troubles
I propose that we split the money in half (50/50).
In the banking circle this happens every time. The other option is that
The money Will revert back to the state.
Please accept my apologies, keep my confidence and disregard this email
If you do not appreciate this proposal I have offered you.
All confirmable documents to back up this fund shall be made available to
You, As we move on; I shall let you know what is required of you. Your earliest
Response to this letter will be appreciated.
I want to know if you are willing to follow up this business seriously
Before I can give you More details about this transaction.
I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success
And riches never come easy or on a platter of gold.
This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients.
Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord,
We should act swiftly on this. Please get back to me immediately via the
I await your response.