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 amount 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Steven Chong" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 01:30:00 +0600 (BDT)
My name is Steven Chong and I work as an Account Manager with Bank
Simpanan Nasional of Malaysia. I have managed a certain account for a
Resident Foreigner here in Malaysia who bears same last name with you but
who unfortunately died leaving in our care a fairly huge amount of money
in a Domiciliary United States Dollars Account.
We had unsuccessfully tried to make contact with any relatives of this
client over the last couple of years but exhaustive inquiries is limited
by our professional ethics which obligates us to act with extreme caution
and confidentiality when dealing with clients Accounts of this type! This
has made it impossible to get round the problem of identifying a next-of
kin in this situation.
I require your assistance in securing the estate left behind by my client
as any time from now it may be declared not serviceable and consequently
confiscated by the Monetary Authorities of Malaysia (MAS) here in
Malaysia. Indeed the MAS has issued a MANDATORY NOTICE demanding us to
provide (before the expiration of the second of quarter 2011) a
next-of-Kin to my clients Estate or have same reserved to the protection
of the State of Malaysia.
Having satisfied all legal requirements of Beneficiary / next-of-Kin
Notification over the past two years, I am convinced that no one will turn
up to lay claim to this funds, hence, I write to seek your consent to put
you forward and present you as the next-of-Kin of my deceased client since
you bear same last name so that proceeds from his Estate can be paid into
an account to be provided by your good-self (preferably outside Malaysia
I have all relevant information to validate our claim presenting you as
next-of-Kin and all we will do shall be within the confines of all
Malaysia regulating Statutes. All I ask is you co-operation and trust and
all I can say at this time is that you shall be rewarded for your part in
this transaction for every effort and commitment that you will bring into
this transaction. Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord,
we should act swiftly on this. Please get back to me immediately via my
I look forward to your response.