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)
- "million 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)
- 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: "John Hu Chang" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2011 15:37:37 -0000
Subject: Re: Seasons Greetings...
I am John Hu Chang, Business Relations Manager for the Nanyang Bank in China. I am getting in touch with you regarding the estate of a deceased client with similar last name and an investment placed under our banks management.
I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this email confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail. I contact you independently and no one is informed of this communication.
In 2000, the subject matter, Mr. Alfred came to our bank to engage in business discussions with our private banking division. He informed us that he had a financial portfolio of 28.35 million United States dollars, which he wished to have us invest on his behalf.
Based on my advice, we spun the money around various opportunities and made attractive margins for our first months of operation, the accrued profit and interest stood at this point at over 20 million United States Dollars. In mid 2002, he instructed that the principal sum (28.35M) be liquidated because he needed to make an urgent investment requiring cash payments in Hong Kong. We got in touch with a specialist bank in Hong Kong the Fubon Development Bank (FDB) who agreed to receive this money for a fee and make cash available to Alfred. However Fubon Development Bank got in touch with us last year that this money has not been claimed. On further enquiries we found out that Alfred was involved in an accident in Mainland China, which means he died intestate. He has no next of kin and the reason I am writing you is because you are namesakes.
What I propose is that since I have exclusive access to his file, you will be made the beneficiary of these funds. The Fubon Development Bank will contact you informing you that money has been willed to you. On verification, which will be the details I make available to Nanyang bank. FDB will be instructed to make payments to you after all the necessary verification and application is done. You do not have to have known Alfred. I know this might be a bit heavy for you but please trust me on this. For all your troubles I propose that we split the money in half. In the banking circle this happens every time. The other option is that the money will revert back to the state.
Nobody is getting hurt; this is a lifetime opportunity for us. I hold the KEY to these funds, and as a Chinese National we see so much cash and funds being re-assigned daily. I would want us to keep communication for now strictly by the above telephone, fax and email.
Please, again, note I am a family man, I have a wife and children. I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to the consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients. Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should act swiftly on this. Please get back to me immediately via my email address below
I await your response.
John Hu Chang