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)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Ali Musa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 15:50:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: WITH DUE RESPECT.
WITH DUE RESPECT.
FROM THE DESK OF ALI MUSA.
BILL AND EXCHANGE MANAGER,
BANK OF AFRICA OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO.
MY PRIVATE NUMBER 00226 76 339 335.
REPLY THROUGH THIS EMAIL ID: email@example.com
TOP SECRET/CONFIDENTIAL AND URGENT TRANSACTIONAL DEMAND.
I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance department of Bank Of Africa(BOA).
I am writing to you, following the impressive information received about you from the chambers of commerce.
I believed that you are capable and reliable to champion this businees opportunity.
In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of $25,300m US dollars (Twenty five million three hundred thousand US dollars). In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in november 2002 in a plane crash.
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless somebody applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
It is therefore upon this discovery that I and other officials in my department now decided to make this businness proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it and we don't want this money to go into the Bank treasury as unclaimed Bill.
The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclamed after Ten years, the money will be transfered into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund.
The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a Burkinabe cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner.This is the most reason why you must keep this transaction as a top secret for we do not want bank to know of our involvement.
We agree that 30% of this money will be for you as foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, 10 % will be set aside for expenses incured by you during the business and 60% would be for ;me and my colleagues.
There after I and my colleagues will visit your country for disbursement accoding to the percentages indicated.
Therefore to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as relations or next of kin of the deceased indicating your bank name, your bank account number, your private telephone and fax number for easy and effective communication and location where in the money will be remitted.
Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the application.
I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is hitch free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer.
You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive this letter.
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
Bill and exchange manager,
Bank Of Africa (BOA).