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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Basil Uthman" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 18:28:29 +0100
Subject: NBC- Libya money letter -[directors-desk]
I am contacting you based on my desire to establish a mutually benefiting business relationship with you and consequently accomplish a certain business opportunity in Africa. I am Mr. Basil Uthman, staff of Libyan national banking corporation, I am presently in London-UK due to the unrest in my country. I write you in respect of a customer of my bank Mallam Mohamed Kadir; who was killed by NATO air-strike attack in Libya, I was his account officer
Before his death he completed a fund-transfer process of (USD18.1m) to a west-African ban 'Intercontinental Bank' in Cotonou, Benin-Republic from our bank in Libya. As it stands, nobody will ever come for this money because he died with his family as his resident home was leveled by the air-strike. I write with intention to solicit your honest assistance to be presented as NEXT OF KIN to my Late client to enable you lay claims on this inheritance and get this fund transferred into your nominated account. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you all will be well at the end of the day
I want you to collaborate with me under a clear and legitimate agreement with you to safekeeping this money for further sharing between us. Services of a legal-attorney will be required to help legitimize your claims as the next of kin. However confidentiality and honest cooperation to enable us succeed is needed from you, we must ensure legitimate and timely transaction. I hope you read this proposal with good understanding of intent behind and please View this BBC web publication:
Mr. Basil Uthman
-National Banking Corporation
Please discard this mail if you have no interest, and delete from your mail box.