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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Siti Ghazali" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 11:21:10 -0500
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam, Kindly Read My Mail
Compliments of the day to you. By way of introduction,I am Siti Ghazali,
a staff of Private Banking Services at the CIMB Bank (Malaysia).
I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail
and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this
I have a business proposal which I believe would be of interest to you. It
a deceased client and an estate he left behind, without naming a
beneficiary to There is US$ 8,370,000.00 deposited , I alone have the
deposit details and they will release the deposit to no one unless I instruct
them to do so. I alone know of the existence of this deposit for as far as
CIMB is concerned, the transaction with our deceased customer
concluded when I sent the funds to the firm, all outstanding interactions in
relation to the file are just customer services and due process. They
are simply awaiting instructions to release the deposit to any party
that comes forward. This is the situation. This bank has spent great
amounts of money trying to track this man's family; they have
investigated for months and have found no family. The investigation has
come to an end.
My proposal; I am prepared to place you in a position to
give instruction for the release of the deposit to you as the closest
Surviving relation. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the
money with you in half. That is: I will simply nominate you as the next of
kin and have them release the deposit to you. We share the proceeds 50/50..
If its in your interest to proceed with the transaction,
please respond to this email account "( email@example.com )" I will
you a detailed account of the source and origin of the estate as well as
the transaction proper.I anticipate your cooperation.