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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million pounds" (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)
- 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.
- +447024027745 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: Dr Kelvin Brown <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2011 22:44:53 +0800 (SGT)
I am Dr.
Kelvin Brown, Manager Accounting Audit Department of credite suise bank here in
England. I am writing you about a business proposal that will be of an immense
benefit to both of us. In my department, being the manager Greater London
Regional Office, I discovered a sum of £16.5 Million (Sixteen Million, five
hundred thousand Pounds Sterling) in an account that belongs to one of our
foreign customers Late Business Mogul Mr. Mosies Saba a 47-years old Jewish
billionaire from Mexico that was a victim of a helicopter crash early last
year. Also in the chopper at the time of the crash was his wife, their son
Avraham (Albert) and his daughter-in-law.
The choice of contacting you is aroused from the geographical nature of
where you live, particularly due to the sensitivity of the transaction and the
confidentiality herein. Now our bank has been waiting for any of the relatives
to come-up for the claim but nobody has done that. I personally have been
unsuccessful in locating the relatives, I seek your consent to present you as
the next of kin/Will Beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this
account valued at 16.5 Million Pounds can be paid to you.
will be disbursed or shared in these percentages 60% to me and 40% to you. I
have secured all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up this
claim we are making. All I need is to fill in your names to the documents and
legalize it in the court here to prove you as the legitimate beneficiary. All I
require now is your honest Co-operation, Confidentiality and Trust to enable us
see this transaction through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under
a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
provide me the following as we have 7 days to run it through. This is very
1. Full Name ..............................
2.Your Direct Mobile Number ........................
3.Your Contact Address ...........................
Having gone through a methodical search, I decided to contact you hoping that
you will find this proposal interesting. Please on your confirmation of this
message and indicating your interest, I will furnish you with more information.
Endeavor to let me know your decision rather than keep me waiting.
Thanking you in anticipation of your favorable reply.
Dr. Kelvin Brown