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 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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Anne M Harriman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 27 Jul 2011 16:36:42 -0400
Subject: Can You?
This message might meet you in utmost surprise. However, itís just my urgent need for foreign partner that made me to contact you for this transaction. I got your contact while I was in your country for a conference. I am Mrs Anne M Harriman, A banker by profession in JP MORGAN CHASE in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and currently holding
the post of secretary/consultant to foreign remittance director in our bank. I need your urgent assistance in transferring the left over funds of ($10.6Million Dollars) belonging to our late customer who died alongside his entire family during the Iraq crisis on October 2006.
The deceased customer used his wife as the next of kin but unfortunately the wife died along side with him leaving nobody for the claim. According to our banking policy if the fund remains unclaimed for the period of 5years then the fund will be transferred into the reserve bank as unclaimed bill.
I donít want the fund to go into the bank treasury and as such, letís claim the fund now! You can see the news on BBC and CNN regarding their death.
Hence; I am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio of 60% for me and 40% for you if you agree to handle this business with me.
Further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as I receive your return mail or fax immediately, as soon as you receive this letter. Trusting to hear from you immediately.
Thanks & Best Regards,
Mrs Anne M Harriman