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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Stanley Lee" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
17 Feb 2011 23:11:02 -0000 (Local time zone must be set--see zic
Subject: Dear Friend,
I am Mr.Stanley Lee Executive Director of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Hong Kong.
A business man made a numbered fixed deposit valued at Twenty Four million
Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars only in my branch. Upon
maturity several notice was sent to him but no response was recieved.
After further investigation it was also discovered that he had died and
did 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 we was
at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank. So,
Twenty Four million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars is still
lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it. What
bothers me is that according to the laws of my country at the expiration
five years six months the funds will revert to the ownership of the Hong
Kong Government if nobody applies to claim the funds.
My proposal, I am prepared to place you as the next of kin in a position
to instruct HANG SENG BANK to release the deposit to you as the closest
surviving relation. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share
the money with you in a favorable percentage. That is: I will simply
nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you.
We share the percentage 60/40. I would have gone ahead to ask the funds
be released to me, but that would have drawn a straight line in my
involvement in claiming the deposit. I assure you that I could have the
deposit released to you within a few days. I will simply inform the bank
of the final closing of the file relating to my client I will then
officially communicate with my Bank and instruct them to release the
deposit to you. With these: all is done. I am aware of the consequences
of this proposal.
Should you be interested I will prefer you to send me your FULL
NAMES,ADDRESS,OCCUPATION AND PHONE NUMBER.to my personal email
Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.
I await your response.