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:
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "RICHARD CHOONG" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 19:14:37 +0800
Subject: PLS. DON'T DELETE, Read very carefully!!
I am Richard Choong (General Manager Internal Audit) Maybank Malaysia.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 contacted you independently of our investigation and no one is informed of this communication. I would like to intimate you with certain facts that I believe would be of interest to you. I know you would be wondering why I am writing you with a request such as this but I only urge you to read on. I decided to contact you through email due to the urgency, anyway I need your co-operation in receiving US$10.5Million that has been in a dormant account with my bank since 1997 under inheritance claim. 30% of the total sums will be accrued to you upon the confirmation of the funds in your nominated account.
Although it may seem small, but you have to understand and accept this since 40% of the total sum will go to charity, as my entitlement here is also 30%. I need your co-operation here because the account holder an Iraqi Chieftain and businessman died at the war I find out this during the course of our internal audit, I have tried to reach any of the next trustees, but to no avail and since I am not in position to make the claim, I can establish you before the bank as the heir to the bequest. It is very important that the claim is made, as the bank will turn the funds over to the treasury anytime from now if it funds remain claimed. Therefore let your conscience towards this proposal be nurtured with sincerity.