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)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Amos Masonda" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2011 21:47:18 -0800
Subject: Im looking forward to your prompt response
From: Mr. Amos Masonda
Old Mutual Bank of South Africa
Tel +27 78 480 4094
I know that this e-mail will come to you as a surprise since we dont know
each other before now. But for purpose of introduction, I am Mr.Amos
Masonda the Manager of a branch of Old Mutual Bank of South Africa (OMBSA)
There is an account opened in this bank in 1989 and since 1998 nobody has
operated on this account. Again after going through some files in the
records, I discovered that if I do not remit this money out urgently it
would be forfeited for nothing. The owner of this account was Arne D. Johaness, a
foreigner and a miner at Kruger Gold Co Pty Ltd South Africa He was a
geologist by profession and he died since 1998. No other person knows about
this account or any thing about it. The account has no other
beneficiary/next of kin and my investigation proved to me as much. The amount involved is
Thirty Five Million United States Dollar.
Im only contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved
for transfer to a local bank here, but can only be approved for transfer to
any foreign account because the money is in US Dollar and the former
owner of the account Mr. Arne D. Johaness was a foreigner too. I want to seal this
business with you. Your role will be to provide an off-shore account where
this money will be transferred into, and to act as the next of kin to the
former owner of this account.
I want us to meet face to face or sign a binding agreement to bind us
together so that you can receive this money into a foreign account or any
account of your choice where the fund will be safe. And I will fly to your
country for withdrawal and sharing and other investments. I am involving you
in this transaction because of the above reasons. I need your full co-
operation to make this work fine because the management is ready to approve
this payment to any foreigner, who has correct information of this account,
which I will give to you later.
Please reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to take
immediately. If interested do give me a call or email with your full
Im looking forward to your prompt response.
Mr. Amos Masonda