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)
- "this business is hitch free " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447035904513 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: Morokat Pnkhmto <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2011 10:26:27 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: My dear friend please contact me +447035904513 reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
My dear friend please contact me +447035904513 reply to email@example.com
I'm Bill and exchange manager at the department of foreign remittances to our bank in London. In my department we discovered abandoned sum of 2.5 million (two million five hundred thousand pounds) in an account belonging to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in a plane crash. Since we got information about his death, we expected his next of kin to come and claim his money because we can not release it unless somebody applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in the management of banking and laws, but unfortunately, we learn that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the disaster, leaving behind the body for claims.
Therefore, this discovery that I and other officials in my department now decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money to you as next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and disbursement since nobody is suitable for this purpose and we do not want this money to go to the bank treasury as unclaimed bill.The banking law and guidelines here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after six years, the money will be transferred to the bank's treasury unclaimed fund request of foreigner as next of kin in this case due to the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a citizen of Great Britain can not act as a next of kin of an alien.
We agree that 30% of this money will be for you as foreign partner, in respect of the provision of foreign currency accounts, 10% will be allocated for expenses incurred during the transaction of the business and 60% will be for me and my colleagues there after I and my colleagues to visit your country for payment in accordance with the specified percentages.
Thus, in order to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as relation or next of kin of the deceased indicating your bank name, bank account, your private telephone and fax numbers for easy and effective communication and location where the money will be credited after we receive your response, I will send you by fax or email the text of the application.
I will not fail to bring to your attention that this business 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 as soon as you receive this letter.
Send me your e-mail and telephone to contact you for more details.