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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "first national bank" (not involved with lotteries)
- 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- 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 (Rediffmail, India; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- with this email address contact me on +27-822-699-353 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com attention: (Rediffmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Felix Collins" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 15:53:05 +0900
Subject: PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL FROM FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF SOUTH AFRICA.
From: (First National Bank South Africa)
Contact me with this email address
Contact me on +27-822-699-353
I do understand the concern this letter will bring to you for the fact that it comes from a total stranger, but be rest assured for it comes with good intentions. I got your contact through the South African International Exchange Network On-line here in Johannesburg, South Africa. For purpose of introduction I am Dr. Felix Collins, the Financial Adviser of FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF SOUTH AFRICA (F.N.B). There is an account opened in this bank since 1980 and since 1995 nobody has operated on this account again. After going through some old files in the records, I discovered that if I don't remit this money out urgently it would be forfeited for nothing.
The owner of this account is Mr. Smith .B. Andreas, a foreigner and a miner at Kruger Gold Co-operation, a geologist by profession and he died since 1994. No other person knows about this account or anything concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that the company does not know anything about this account and the amount involved is USD$75,000,000,00 (Seventy Five Million United States Dollars). I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved to a local bank here, but can only be approved to any foreign account because the money is in United States Dollars and the former owner of the account Mr. Smith .B . Andreas is a foreigner too. I need a truthful person in this business because I don't want to make mistakes. I need your strong assurance and trust. With my position now in office I can transfer this money to any foreign reliable account, through on-line banking or Telegraphic Transfer (T.T)!
which you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending my physical arrival to your country for sharing. I will apply for annual leave to get a visa immediately I hear from you that you are ready to act and receive this money in your account. At the conclusion of this business, I will come to your country for withdrawal and sharing and other investments. you will be given 40% of the total amount, 50% will be for me , and while 10% will be for expenses both parties might incur during the process of transferring this money.
Therefore, if you are willing and interested to render the needed assistance, endeavour to reply through my email address, I also need your private phone and fax numbers for easy communication. I will give more clarifications on the modalities needed for the successful completion of this transaction.
Dr. Felix Collins