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:
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Shi Xing" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 00:39:09 +0100
Subject: Read Carefully
Before I proceed, I must first apologize for this unsolicited letter to you, I am aware that this is certainly not a conventional way of approach to establish a relationship of trust, but you will realize the need for my action. I am Shi Xing, retail commercial banking group manager for a bank in China. I am getting in touch with you regarding the estate of a deceased client who had an investment placed under our banks management few years ago.
The subject matter, Mr. Wo Weihan came to our bank to engage in business discussions with our private banking division. He informed us that he had a financial portfolio of 14.35 million United States dollars which he wished to have us invest on his behalf. Based on my advice, we spun the money around various opportunities and made attractive margins for our first months of operation. In mid 2004, he instructed that the principal sum (14.35M) be liquidated because he needed to make an urgent investment requiring cash payments in Hong Kong. We got in touch with a specialist bank in Hong Kong who agreed to receive this money for a fee and make cash available to Wo Weihan.
In January 2005 Wo Weihan was arrested by the Government and was executed on November 28th 2008. However the Bank got in touch with us last year that this money has not been claimed.
You can get more information about Mr. Wo Weihan and what led to his execution on the web links below
What I propose is that since I have exclusive access to his file, you will be made the beneficiary of these funds. My bank will contact you informing you that money has been willed to you. On verification, which will be the details I make available to my bank, my bank will instruct the Bank in Hong Kong to make payments to you. You do not have to have known him. I know this might be a bit heavy for you but please trust me on this. For all your troubles I propose that we split the money in half.
In the banking circle this happens every time. Nobody is getting hurt as I hold the KEY to these funds. I would want us to keep the details of this business strictly to ourselves and do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should act swiftly on this because the other option is that the money will revert back to the states.
Have a good day as I await to hear from you as soon as you get this email.
Thanks and regards,