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:
- "trust is our watchword" (the question is not whether they can trust you, but whether you have any reason to trust this person or anyone this person tells you to contact)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Gideon Moore" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 00:24:23 +0800
THIS IS NOT A SALES, SOLICITATION OR SPAM.
I am a staff of Barclays Bank London. I am writing on behalf of my client following an
Opportunity in my office that will be of immense benefit to my client and us. My client
was a top government official in another country, who banked with us in the UK. I was
his personal banker, who kept all his accounts and monitored all his investment for him
here in the UK.
My client’s bank account with us has been frozen due to some diminutive
on my client. My client is a very rich man, worth over $4 billion USD. A lot of these
funds are frozen in different accounts due to the reason I gave above, and we need to
transfer some funds to an unnamed account only I and my client know about, into your
Now! All we need from you is to let us know if you are interested before we give you
If you decide to help us, I will assure you that you would gain a lot from my client,
as he is a very generous man with the fear of God in him. The reason I am doing this
for him is because he has helped my family and I, in fact my life changed when I met
this man and I am 100% convinced that yours would change dramatically if you work with
The amount in question is very large so you alone cannot receive this cash. I intend to
use 4-5 people to conclude this transfer and the process shouldn’t take more than
days. For transparency I will fully outline the sharing pattern, we have agreed to give
you a non-negotiable 10%, of the total money transferred and believe me, it is a lot of
cash. Once the funds are in your account, we would then meet in a suitable place to
discuss final disbursement according to the percentages indicated above.
Honesty is the success of this business and trust is our watchword in this transaction.
I guarantee you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement
that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me urgently
by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: This transaction is confidential and risk free. All necessary arrangement for the
smooth transfer of these funds to you has been finalized. We will discuss much in
details when I receive your response.
****************PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL**************
This e-mail and any attached files are confidential and may be legally privileged.
If you are not the addressee, any disclosure, reproduction, copying, distribution, or
other dissemination or use of this communication is strictly prohibited.