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:
- 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)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "my direct telephone number" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Attorney Pepe Gonzalez" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 15:37:29 +0100
Subject: Soliciting Your Utmost Consent and Sincerity
Firstly, I must solicit your confidence in this transaction; this is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day. Let me start by first introducing myself properly to you. It may surprise you receiving this letter from me, since there was no previous correspondence between us.
My name is Attorney Pepe Gonzalez (Esq) I got your contact information from your country public records while searching for a last name similar to my late client who died with his entire family in 2004 Madrid train bombings Thursday, 11 March 2004. My purpose of contacting you is for you to help secure the funds left behind by my late client,to avoid it being confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Bank where this fund valued USD $8,500,000.00(Eight Million, Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) deposited by my client before his death.
The Bank has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin or the account will be declared unserviceable and the fund diverted to the Bank treasury, So far all my efforts to get a hold of someone related to my client has proved abortive. Hence, I have contacted you. I am actually asking for your consent to present you to the Bank as the Next of Kin/beneficiary of my late client's fund,so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to your account. All the legal documentations to back up your claim as my client's Next of Kin I shall provide them. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us achieve this transaction.
I know you may not be anyway related to my late client but having a common surname with him and the modality I have in place I can guarantee that if you follow my instructions (The rule of laws) and capitalizing of some judicial loop holes the funds will be released into your nominated bank account Mind you that this transaction is 100% risk free; there is no atom of risk connected to this business as I have worked out all modalities to complete the operation effective.
All I require from you is your honest co-operation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a Legitimate banking arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. Upon successful conclusion of this project,you will be compensated with 45% of the total fund, while 55% will be for me.Consequent to that I will then forward you the company's details and officially present a letter indicating that I have found the beneficiary to the Fund .I await your call or reply to my email.
If you are interested to work with me in this deal, kindly reply strictly to my personnel Email: email@example.com and also give a call to my direct telephone number +34 603 276 748. as above or you can equally send a fax with your personal Telephone /fax number for effective communication and oral clarification on how to proceed next.
Attorney Pepe Gonzalez (Esq)