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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "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)
- "top secret" (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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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. Amara Abedi" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 07:54:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: TREAT AS URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL
TREAT AS URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL
I am Mr. Amara Abedi, the director in charge of auditing and accounting section of Bank of Africa, Ouagadougou Burkina Faso West Africa. With due respect and regard, I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that will be very beneficial to both of us at the end of the transaction.
During our investigation and auditing in this bank, my department came across a very huge sum of money belonging to a deceased person who died on 31rst January 2000 in a plane crash and the fund has been dormant in his account with this Bank without any claim of the fund in our custody either from his family or relation before our discovery to this development. The said amount was (EIGHTEEN MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS. ($18,000,000.00)Meanwhile all the whole arrangement to put the claim over this fund as the bonafide next of kin to the deceased, get the required approval and transfer this money to a foreign account has been put in place and directives and needed information will be relayed to you as soon as you indicate your interest and willingness to assist me and also benefit yourself to this great business opportunity.
Infact I could have done this deal alone but because of my position in this country as a civil servant (A Banker) we are not allowed to operate a foreign account and would eventually raise an eye brow on my side during the time of transfer because I work in this bank. This is the reason why it will require a second party or fellow who will forward claims as the next of kin to the bank and also present a foreign account where he will need the money to be retransferred into on his request as it may be after due verification and clarification by the correspondent branch of the bank where the money will be remitted from to your own designation bank account.
I will not fail to inform you that this transaction is 100% risk free. On smooth conclusion of this transaction, you will be entitled to 40% of the total sum as gratification, while 60% will be for me. Please, you have been advised to keep top secret as I am still in service and intend to retire from service after I conclude this deal with you.
I will be monitoring the whole situation here in this bank until you confirm the money in your account and ask me to come down to your country for subsequent sharing of the fund according to percentages previously indicated and further investment, either in your country or any country you advice us to invest.
All other necessary vital information will be sent to you when I hear from you.
I look forward to receive your email and please also send your direct mobile telephone number in your reply for easy communication.
Please reply to this address, firstname.lastname@example.org