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)
- "million 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)
- ",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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. John W." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 07:30:44 -0400
Subject: A BUSINESS PROPOSAL OF INTEREST
Let me start by introducing myself. I am Mr. John and I work for the Bank of China. I got your details from the e-business directory in the Shatin Central Library, Hong Kong. I have a mutually beneficial enterprise to suggest to you. Since 2000 the government of china has injected at least $45 billion into Construction Bank and Bank of China merger as part of a pilot scheme to reform the sector and prepare for the launch and sale of IPOs.
However these mergers have not gone as successfully as anticipated, as a lot of assets and accounts were under-valued and as such there are unclaimed funds in different accounts locally and internationally. Several attempts have been made by various bank officials to divert these funds and also to misappropriate them but this has resulted in their execution because they have tried to make these transfers without the total collaboration of their banking units and all relevant heads of departments of the different banking units involved.
Since 2004 an audit of Financial Assets has been on-going and a special committee was set up to further the co-operate governance objectives of the bank, this committee is made up of various individuals of this bank. During our investigation and audits it was discovered that majority of the funds placed in the bank were not properly declared and a certain Finance Government official also placed Government Funds in the bank without going through the appropriate deposit procedures as he was preparing to divert and siphon the funds but our investigations made him and his accomplices in the bank, disappear into thin air. Thus the funds are lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim them.
Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as the bona-fide owner of these funds totalling HK$100,000,000.00(One Hundred Million Hong Kong Dollars) The equivalent of US$13,000,000.00 (Thirteen Million US Dollars) so that you will be able to receive his funds.
Please be rest-assured that all the necessary and required documents to prove the above are being handled and managed by my sub-committee and as such we have nothing to worry about, with regards securing the documentation to affect the release of the funds to you.
There is no risk involved at all in the matter as we are going adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessary documents.
Once the funds have been transferred to you we shall share in the ratio of 75% for my team and 25% for you. Please note that this first transaction is to be used as a trial run as there will be more transactions of this nature in the future, upon the successful execution of this transaction.
Please endeavour to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue and reach me through my personal email for now; firstname.lastname@example.org