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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Cheung Pui" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 18:12:53 -0000
Subject: From: Cheung Pui/Business Proposal
MR. CHEUNG PUI
HANG SENG BANK LTD.
DES VOEUX RD. BRANCH,
CENTRAL HONG KONG,
Let me start by introducing myself. I am Mr Cheung Pui director of operations Hang Seng Bank Ltd. I have an obscured business suggestion for you. Before the U.S and Iraqi war our client Major Fadi Bassem who was with the Iraqi forces and also a business man made a numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of twenty four million five hundred thousand United State Dollars in my branch. Upon maturity several notices was sent to him, even during the war. Again after the war another notification was sent and still no response came from him. We later found out that the Major and his family had been killed during the war in a bomb blast that hit their home.
After further investigations it was also discovered that Major Fadi Bassem did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank deposit. And he also confided in me the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank.
As you can see, twenty four million five hundred thousand United States Dollars is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it. What bothers me most is that according to the by-laws of my country at the expiration of 9 years the funds will revert to the ownership of the Hong Kong Government if nobody applies to claim the funds. Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Major Fadi Bassem so that you will be able to receive his funds.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE:
I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we will come out successful. I have contacted an attorney that will prepare the necessary document that will back you up as the next of kin to Major Fadi Bassem, all that is required from you at this stage is for you to provide me with your full name and address so that the attorney can commence his job, after you have been made the next of kin, the attorney will also file in for claims on your behalf and secure the necessary documentation for the movement of the funds to an account that will be provided by you.
There is no risk involved at all in the matter as we are going to adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessary documents. Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue. Once the funds have been transferred, we shall share in the ratio of 70% for me, 25% for you and 5% for any expenses incurred during the course of this operation. Should you be interested please send me your private phone and fax numbers for easy communication, you can write me via my private box (email@example.com) and finally after that I shall provide you with more details of this operation.
Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.
Mr. Cheung Pui.