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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.John Sanh." <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2011 14:20:25 +0100
Subject: THIS IS FOR YOU.
I am Mr.John Sanh, staff of a reputable bank in Africa. On the 23rd of
Feb. 2006, a contractor made a deposit for 12 months valued at USD$9.8
million. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his
forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we discovered from
his contract employers, that the depositor had died. On further
investigation I found out that he died without making a (WILL).
The money is still sitting in our Bank and According to the Laws, here
in Africa, at the expiration of 5 (five) years, the money will revert
to the ownership of the Government Treasury if nobody applies to claim
the fund. Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you to stand
in as the next of kin to the depositor. However my proposal to you is
I want to front you as the Next of Kin to our bank deceased customer.
If this business interests you furnish me with the bellow information:
1) Your full name/ Account coordinates
2) Your private Telephone/Fax Numbers
3) Company name, position and address
4) Profession, age and marital status
5) Working Id, Int'l passport copy or photo image identity
By virtue of your acceptance to assist me, I have agreed to offer you
25% of the total sum upon completion. I looks forward to your earliest
response to expedite action.
I look forward to your reply and co-operation, and I thank you in
advance as I anticipate your co-operation. You can reach me on via
The Manager, Bills and Exchange Dept.