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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- +447035904513 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "MOROKAT PNKHMTO" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 13:13:50 +0530
Subject: My dear friend please contact me +447035904513 reply to email@example.com
My dear friend please contact me +447035904513 reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance department in our bank in LONDON. In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of 2.5m (Two million five hundred thousand Pounds) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in plan 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 can not release it unless somebody applies for it as a next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines and laws, but unfortunately we learn that all his supposed next of kin or relation died along side with him at the disaster leaving no body behind for the claim.
It is therefore upon 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 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 unclaimed after six years, the money will be transferred into the bank treasury as an unclaimed fund, The request of a foreigner as a next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a citizen of UK cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner.
We agree that 30% of this money will be for you as a foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, 10% will be set aside for expenses incurred during the transaction of this business and 60% will be for me and my colleagues, There after I and my colleagues will visit your country for disbursement according to the percentages indicated.
Therefore, in order to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as a relation or next of kin of the deceased indicating your bank name, your bank account, 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 business is hitch-free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements has been made for the transfer. You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive this letter.
SEND ME YOUR EMAIL AND TELEPHONE TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU FOR MORE DETAILS.