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:
- "a project that will be very beneficial to both of us" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Chong Lee" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 01 Apr 2011 19:54:32 -0700
Subject: LETTER TO YOU?
I am Mr. Chong Lee the Director in charge of Auditing section of Hsbc In Malaysia,Am sorry if this message comes to you as a surprise. I have decided to contact you on a project that will be very beneficial to both of us. During our auditing in this Bank, I came across some amount of fund laying in wait here, and when I carried out my investigation, I discovered that it was an overdraft that was perfected by the formal Auditor whom I took over the office from, he was unable to move out this huge sum of money due to the urgency that was attached to his dismissal from the office.And the said fund is US$7.1 Million United Stated Dollar.
I am in search of a reliable person who can put up a claim on this fund, so that it will be transferred to his/her account for both of us to use it for an Investment purpose, right now I have successfully moved the fund to an escrow Account in one of the Local Banks here in Malaysia. Upon your acceptance to carry on this task more information will be made known to you. Please you have been advised to keep "top-secret" as I am still in service and intend to retire from service after I conclude this deal with you.
I will fly down to your country or any place we shall agreed on for subsequent negotiation regarding the investment and its benefits immediately this fund has being transferred into your designated Bank Account. Upon your acceptance to this proposal, kindly get back to me via this e-mail;(email@example.com)
I look forward to receive your urgent reply.
Mr. Chong Lee