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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Samas Dona <email@example.com>
Date: 5 Oct 2011 06:19:26 -0700
Subject: Dear Friend,
Auditing and Accounting Unit
Foreign Operations Department
Credit Bank, Cotonou Branch
Republic of Benin.
Through some discreet search from my local chambers of commerce,you were revealed as being quite astute in Entrepreneurship. One has no doubt in your ability to handle an international business of considerable TRUST, which may form the bedrock of an extensive business partnership in the future.
IF INTERESTED YOU ARE TO GET BACK TO ME VIA MY E-MAIL CONTACT INDICATED ABOVE.
During our Investigation and Auditing in this Bank, my department came across a very huge sum of money belonging to one deceased Mr. Morris Thompson, 61 years, of Fairbanks, Alaska America; who died on January 31st 2000 with Alaska Airlines Flight 261.
As 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 because he did not indicate any next of kin to this account incase of death such as these. Although personally,He had only fifteen Million one hundred thousand united states dollars (US$15,100,000.00) in his account and the account is coded,It is only an insider that could produce the code of the deposit particulars.
Meanwhile as a Senior Staff in this bank, and the Director of Auditing and Accounting, I have in my possession all the necessary documents to perfect this deal by making you the bonafide next of kin/Partner whom this money will be transferred into your account.
I need your assistance and co-operation to get this deal done, because as a foreigner, you stand a better position to be presented through documentation as the next of kin/Partner since the deceased is also a foreigner, this is the reason why I could not do this deal alone as a Citizen of Benin and a staff of the bank as well.
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 5% will be set aside to take care of expenses that may arise during the time of transfer and also telephone bills, while 55% will be for me. Please, you have been advised to keep this "Top Secret" as I am still in service and intend to retire from service after I conclude this deal with you.
And I assure you that this transaction will not last more than 10 working days and you confirm the money in your account.
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 me to invest in. All other necessary vital information will be sent to you when I hear from you. I suggest you get back to me as soon as possible stating your wish in this deal.
I am expecting your urgent reply as soon as you receive this message.
God bless you and your family.
As a matter of confidentiality send me your response to this email address firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing to assist me.