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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: John Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2011 10:15:30 +0900 (KST)
Subject: I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE INTO THIS TRANSACTION
I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE INTO THIS TRANSACTION
From Mr John Williams,
African Development Bank,(ADB)
Burkina Faso Ouagadougou
My Dear Friend,
Please I want you to read this letter very carefully and I must apologize for barging this message into your mail box without any formal introduction due to the urgency and confidential of this issue and I know that this message will come to you as a surprise. Please this is not a joke and I will not like you to joke with it.
I am Mr John Williams, a Manager in African Development Bank, (ADB) Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. I Hoped that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to establish with you for the mutual benefit of you and I. This fund was deposited in our bank by Mr. Kattan Azmal from Jordan who died in a plane crash in 2000 Tbm 700 aircraft on 31st July with his wife and the whole crew on board.
I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of ($10.5) million USD into your account within 7 working banking days. This money has been dormant for years in our Bank without claim due to the owner of this fund died along with his entire family and supposed next of kin in an air crash since July 31st 2000.
I want our bank to release this fund to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer while i come over to your country to share this fund with you as soon as you confirm this fund into your account and ask me to come over. I don't want the money to go into our Bank treasure as an abandoned fund. So this is the reason why i contacted you so that our bank will release this money to you as the next of kin to the deceased customer. Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret and delete it if you are not interesting.
As the director of the department, this discovery was brought to my office so as to decide what is to be done. i decided to seek ways through which ttransfer this money out of the bank and out of the country too. The total initial amount deposited in this account was thirty six million, five hundred thousand dollars (usd 36,500,000.00) but with subsequent withdrawals from the account by the depositor before his death, the account was audited by my department and we discovered that the remaining balance in the bank account is ten million, five hundred thousand dollars (usd 10, 500.000.00 and with my position as the accounts and audit department director of this bank.
Upon the receipt of your reply and indication of your capability, i will give you full details on how the business will be executed and also note that you will have 50% of the above mentioned sum if you agree to handle this business with me while 50% be for me, Because i don't want anyone here in our bank to know my involvement until you confirm this fund into your account and ask me to come over for the sharing as I indicated.
I am looking forward to hear from you immediately for further information do not hesitate to call me on this number +22678905934
THE REQUESTED INFORMATIONS BELOW
1. FULL NAME..............
2. TELEPHONE NUMBERS/MOBILE/FAX.......
3. YOUR AGE......
4. YOUR SEX.........
5. YOUR OCCUPATION........
6. YOUR COUNTRY AND CITY......
7. YOUR HOME ADDRESS..........
8. MARITAL STATUS............
Thanks with my best regards
Mr John Williams,