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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Saskia Opel" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2011 19:57:11 +0800 (PHT)
Subject: Please Read Carefully
Compliments of the day to you. By way of introduction, I am Saskia Opel,
Head, Operations Department of Bank Of Japan.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 have a
business proposal which I believe would be of interest to you. It concerns
a deceased client and an estate he left behind, without naming a
beneficiary toThere is US$ 18,370,000.00 deposited , I alone have the
deposit details and they will release the deposit to no one unless I
them to do so. I alone know of the existence of this deposit for as far as
CIMB Bank (Japan) is concerned, the transaction with our deceased customer
concluded when I sent the funds to the firm, all outstanding interactions in
relation to the file are just customer services and due process. They
are simply awaiting instructions to release the deposit to any party
that comes forward. This is the situation. This bank has spent great
amounts of money trying to track this man's family; they have
investigated for months and have found no family. The investigation has
come to an end.
My proposal; I am prepared to place you in a position to
give instruction for the release of the deposit to you as the closest
Surviving relation. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the
money with you in half. That is: I will simply nominate you as the next of
kin and have them release the deposit to you. We share the proceeds 50/50..
If its in your interest to proceed with the transaction,
please respond to this email account (email@example.com) I will give
you a detailed account of the source and origin of the estate as well as
the transaction proper.I anticipate your cooperation.