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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 state 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ahmed Al Ansari" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 14:31:10 -0700
Subject: Attn: Reply Immediately
Friendly greetings to you.
Let me start by introducing myself. I am Ahmed Al Ansari, the Branch Manager of National Bank of Abu Dhabi. I have urgent and very confidential business proposition for you. An American Iraqi Foreign Oil Consultant /Contractor with the Chevron Petroleum Corporation Company named Late Mr. Thomas Stone made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at US$12,000,000.00 (Twelve Million) United State Dollars in my branch. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract an employer that is the Iraqi Foreign Oil consultant confirmed to us that he was actually dead.
Before the time of his death, he had on a visit to my branch office confided in me that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank. Therefore, Twelve million United State Dollars is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it. It is against this backdrop that my suggestion that I would like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Thomas Stone so that you will be able to receive his funds for our mutual benefit. We will share the fund at the ration of 60% for me while 40 % for you.
There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done by the attorney and my position as the Branch Manager guarantees the successful execution of this transaction. If you are interested, please kindly reply to this email immediately. Upon receiving your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand the transaction. Please send me your confidential telephone and fax numbers for easy communication. Also I wish for you to please observe utmost confidentiality over this proposition, and be rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us at the end, provided we both work hand in hand to achieve success.
Your earliest response to this email would be greatly appreciated. Reply here email@example.com
Ahmed Al Ansari.