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:
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- "into your nominated bank account" (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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "inland revenue" (Tax offices mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. Even after you pay their fake tax demands you will still not receive the non-existent funds you have been promised. )
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR.JOHN SMITH" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 04:46:20 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: ATTENTION:FROM BRITISH FUND MONITORY UNIT.
British Fund Monitory Unit
British Inland Revenue Commission
286 Euston Road , London NW1 3UH
ATTENTION:FROM BRITISH FUND MONITORY UNIT.
I am Mr. John Smith, from South Carolina , but I live and work here in UK with British fund monitoring unit London United Kingdom as international financial consultant with. I'm 49yrs old; I got your email address on the web/International business directories. On the course of my duty, I have privately discovered a dormant account in the name of late Mr. Raymond Beck. He is from Atlanta Georgia United State of America , but resided here in London , England as a consultant engineer. Mr. Raymond Beck was a client with huge deposit account since August 2003. Late Mr. Raymond died through cancer, leaving nobody to inherit his assets.
The Board of Directors and The Management of British fund monitoring unit has official advice and mandated me to look for Mr. Raymond Beck relatives and his next of Kin to come and claim Mr. Raymond Beck's Fund deposit, considering my American citizenship. I have made several efforts to link with his next of kin without success for official claim of his deposit. I have made several inquiries/contacted at the America Embassy and all my effort was unsuccessful due to some wrong applications and bad documentation caused by misappropriation.
In view of this unsuccessful trace of Mr. Raymondâs next of kin, some of the Directors and top executive of the bank want to convert the fund deposit Account of Mr. Raymond worth US$9.8m into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund. In view of this, I will want you to stand as the Relation/next of kin to Late Mr. Raymond Beck, so that the fund will be Documented, Processed and Transferred into your bank account as the legal beneficiary and next of kin, as an insider and financial consultant with the bank, I will front you as the legal beneficiary, I will directly use my position and office to perfect and coordinate the transaction in a legitimate manner. As a matter of fact, this transaction is very transparent, easy and simple, and it is 100% risk free provided I am directly involved.
Finally, the entire management of the bank considering my American linage with Mr. Raymond beck is surly depending on me to provide the next of kin, if you are interested with this transaction, I will present you to the bank as the only next of kin to late Mr. Raymond Beck, with the official and credible documents certifying you as the appointed next of kind and legal beneficiary and the transaction will be conclude within few banking days without delay or hindrances and you confirm the fund into your nominated bank account.
Just email me on (email@example.com) once you receive this letter to stop me from further looking for alternative elsewhere. I'm putting my confidence on you. Feel free to ask any questions. I am in a better position to furnish you with reliable answers. You will be entitled of 50% of the total sum (US$9.8 Million) which is (US$4.900, 000.00) Four Million nine Hundred Thousand Dollars, while the Balance of the same amount will be mine.
I will be waiting for your immediate response.
Mr. John Smith.