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:
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "foreign exchange" (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 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: "Dr. Alfred Muthu" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2012 02:01:25 +0000
Subject: From Dr Alfred Muthu....
>From Dr Alfred Muthu....
18 Independence Close.
Pleae could you permit me to introduce myself to you hoping that you will not treat this mail as an internet junk mail neither will you treat it as a joke.
I want to ask you to kindly look for a reliable and honest person who will be capable and fit to provide either an existing bank account or to set up a new bank account immediately to receive this money, though an empty bank account could serve this purpose as long as you will remain honest to me till the end of this important business trusting in you and believing in God that you will never let me down either now or in time to come.
I am Dr Alfred Muthu,the external auditor of a Bank.,During the course of our auditing, I discovered a floating fund in an account opened in the bank in 1990 and since 1993 nobody has operated on this account again. After going through some old files in the records, I discovered that the owner of the account died without a Heir apparent to the throne?hence the money is floating and if I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for nothing.
The owner of this account is Mr.Hugo Williams,a foreigner and an industrialist died, since 1990,until now no other person(s) knows about this account or could give any documentary evidence concerning this account. As such this account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that Hugo Williams until his death he was the manager Oriental Diamond Company, in South Africa.
However, if you are interested in this business we will start the first money transfer with Forty Two Million U.S.Dollars (U.S. $42,000,000.00) upon successful transaction without any disappointment from you. We shall also re-apply for the payment of the remaining amount to your account.
While the total amount involved is One Hundred and Forty Two Million United States Dollars (U.S.$142000,000.00) only. I would want us to make a first transfer of [Forty Two Million United States Dollar. (U.S. $4200, 000.00) from this money into a safe foreigners account abroad before the rest. I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money can not be approved to a local account, without valid international foreign ?greement? but could only be approved to any foreigner with valid international credentials: passport or drivers license and foreign account because this sum is in U.S. dollars and the former owner of the account Mr.Hugo Williams is a foreigner too, thus the money could only be approved into a foreign account.
However, knowing all this, we will reach a binding agreement in this regards. As a matter of urgency, I will inform you the next step to take,while you send your private telephone and fax number including the full details of the account to be used for the deposit. I want us to meet face to face to build confidence and to sign a binding agreement that will bind us together before transferring the money to any account of your choice where the fund will be safe. Before we fly to your country for withdrawal,Sharing and investments.
I need your full co-operation to make this business a success, because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has correct information of this account, which I will give to you, upon your positive response and once I am convinced that you are capable and will meet up with the instructions of a key bank official who is deeply involved with me in this business. I need your strong assurance that you will never let me down.
With my influence and the position in the bank we can transfer this money to any foreigner's reliable account which you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending our physical arrival in your country for sharing.And to build confidence that you can come immediately to discuss with me face to face after which I will make this remittance in your presence and three of us will fly to your country at least two days ahead of the money going into the account. Iwill apply for annual leave to get visa immediately I hear from you that you are ready to act as directed.
To prove the authenticity of the business I will use my position and influence to obtain all legal approvals for onward transfer of this money to your account with appropriate clearance from the relevant ministries, foreign exchange departments and embassy and Board of Internal Revenue services.
So you have to send your account details as foloowing.
Your Private Tele & Fax Number:......
Home & Office Address:...........
At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 40% of the total amount, 50% will be for me, while 10% will be for expenses both parties might have incurred during this process. I look forward to your earliest reply through my Private e-mail (email@example.com)
Dr Alfred Muthu.