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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- ",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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr David" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 16:23:20 +0400
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam
This letter must come to you as a surprise, but I believe it is only a day that people meet that they can become great friends and business partners. I am Mr. David Pencil, currently Branch Manager with a reputable bank here in Ghana. I write you this proposal in good faith, believing that I can trust you with the information I am about to reveal to you. I have an urgent and very confidential business proposition for you. On March 1ST, 2006, a property consultant and importer of used cars, Mr. Zaachery Ruben a (Fixed) Deposit for twenty four calendar months, valued at ?3.5m(GBP) (Three Million Five Hundred Thousand British pounds sterling) in my branch and I happen to be his account officer before I was moved to my present position recently. It was to my utter surprise that Mr. Zaachary was among the death victims in May 26 2006 Earthquake disaster in Jawa, Indonesia that killed over 5,000 people. He was in Indonesia on a business trip and that was how he met his end.
Upon the maturity in 2008, as his account officer, it is my duty to notify him on the maturity date so I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but the letter was returned undelivered. After sometime, I tried sending back the letter, but it was again returned and finally I discovered from his contract employers, that Mr. Zaachery was as a victim of above mentioned May 26 2006 Earthquake disaster in Jawa, Indonesia and was the reason why he did not declare any next of kin or relation in all his official documents, including his Bank Deposit paperwork in my Bank and did not leave any WILL. This
sum of ?3,500,000.00(GBP) have been floating and placed under dormant/unserviceable account by my bank management since no one have heard from the owner since 2008. I wish to let you know that all the investigation I have made so far, my bank management is not aware of it; I am the only one that have the information.
With the recent change of government in my country and with their efforts to support the United Nations in checkmating terrorism aid in the Africa, before the end of this year, the government will pass a new financial control law which will give the government authority to interrogate account owners of above ?2,000,000.00 (GPB) to explain the source of the funds, making sure it is not for terrorism support. If I do not move this money out of the country immediately, before the stipulated period the government will definitely confiscate the money, because my bank cannot provide the account owner to explain the source of the money. I cannot directly transfer out this money without the help of a foreigner That has a similar name with Mr. Zaachery and that is why I am contacting you for assistance. As the Account Officer to late Mr. Zaachery coupled with my present position and status in the bank as a Branch Manager now, I have the power to influence the release of the funds to any foreigner that comes up a
I want you to state how you wish us to share the funds in percentage, so that both of us will be satisfied. contact me as soon as you receive this message with below information
Treat with utmost confidentiality.
I shall send you a copy of the depository Agreement certificate issued to Mr. Zaachery when the deposit was made for your perusal. I wait your urgent response. Get back to me through my private mail box; email@example.com