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)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "attorneys " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 (Inmail24; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Tom bello" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 22:13:24 -0800 (PST)
Subject: GOOD DAY AND GOD BLESS YOU
From the desk of:
Mr. Tom bello
Owena bank plc.
Lagos , Nigeria .
I am Mr. Tom bello , Bank Manager of Owena bank plc, Lagos Branch. I got your contact from the world trade center (WTC) Regional office in Lagos, Nigeria .Although the details of my intention was not made known to them .Actually, I listed your name amongst four other names & prayed over them & decided to contact you directly. I have a very urgent & confidential business proposition for you & for our overall mutual interest.
On June 6 2003,an American oil consultant/contractor with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Mr. Barry Kelly made a numbered time(fixed) deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at USD$25,000,000.00(twenty-five million dollars) in my branch.
Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarded address but got no reply. After a month we sent a reminder,& finally we discovered from his contract employers NNPC, that Mr. Barry died in an automobile accident. On further investigation, I found out that he did not leave a WILL & all attempts to trace his next of kin were fruitless. I therefore made further investigation & discovered that Mr. Barry did not declare any next of kin in all his official documents, including his bank deposit paperwork.
This sum USD$25,000,000.00 is still floating in the bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year. No one will come forward to claim it.
According to Nigerian Laws, At the expiration of 7 years, the money will revert to the ownership of the Nigerian government if nobody applies to claim the funds. Consequently, my proposal is that i will like you as a foreigner to stand in as a next of kin of Mr. Barry Kelly. This is simple,
(1)I will like you to provide me immediately with your full names & address so that the attorney will prepare the necessary documents & affidavits, which will put you as next of kin.
(2)We shall employ the services of two attorneys for drafting & notarization of the WILL and obtain the necessary documents and letter of probate/administration in your favor for the transfer.
The money will be paid into your account for us to share in the ratio of 60% for me and 40% for you. There is no risk at all as the attorney and my position will do the paperwork for this transaction as the branch manager guarantees the successful execution of this transaction. If you are interested, please reply immediately via this private email address.(mrtombellong@inMail24.com ) Upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand.
PLEASE OBSERVE UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY, and be rest assured that this would be most profitable for both of us because i shall require your assistance to invest my share in your country. Awaiting your urgent reply via this email above, please save me the anxiety of endless waiting.
God bless you.
Mr. Tom bello
Owena bank plc.
Lagos , Nigeria .
Please reply to this my private email(mrtombellong@inMail24.com )