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)
- ",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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Father Jorge <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 15:23:35 +0100
Subject: I AM SEEKING FOR YOUR HELP AND TRUST.
I am writing to seek your cooperation over this business, Please due welcome this letter.
I am Mr Father Jorge. the director of the accounts & auditing department at the African development bank Ouagadougou-Burkina Faso in west Africa. With due respect, I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that will be beneficial to both of us.
At the bank's last accounts/auditing evaluations, my staffs came across an old account which was being maintained by a foreign client who we learnt was among the deceased passengers of motor accident on November.. 2003, the deceased was unable to run this account since his death. The account has remained dormant without the knowledge of his family since it was put in a safe deposit account in the bank for future investment by the client..
Since his demise, even the members of his family haven't applied for claims over this fund and it has been in the safe deposit account until I discovered that it cannot be claimed since our client is a foreign national and we are sure that he has no next of kin here to file claims over the money. As the director of the department, this discovery was brought to my office so as to decide what is to be done. I decided to seek ways through which to transfer this money out of the bank and out of the country too.
The total amount in the account is ten million five hundred thousand dollars (USD 10,500,000.00).with my positions as staffs of the bank, I am handicapped because I cannot operate foreign accounts and cannot lay bonafide claim over this money. The client was a foreign national and you will only be asked to act as his next of kin and I will supply you with all the necessary information and bank data to assist you in being able to transfer this money to any bank of your choice where this money could be transferred into.
The total sum will be shared as follows: 50% for me, 50% for you and expenses incidental occur during the transfer will be incur by both of us. The transfer is risk free on both sides hence you are going to follow my instruction till the fund transfer to your account.
Since I work in this bank that is why you should be confident in the success of this transaction because you will be updated with information as at when desired.
I will wish you to keep this transaction secret and confidential as I am hoping to retire with my share of this money at the end of transaction which will be when this money is safety in your account. I will then come over to your country for sharing according to the previously agreed percentages. You might even have to advise me on possibilities of investment in your country or elsewhere of our choice. May God help you to help me to a restive retirement, Amen.
Please for further information and enquires feel free to contact me back immediately for more explanation and better understanding .
I am waiting for your urgent response!!!
Thanks and remain blessed
Mr Father Jorge.