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:
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Teko Thomas" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2012 17:30:39 -0400
Subject: Attn: Assistance Needed.
Firstly, I apologize for sending you this sensitive information via E-mail. I am Mr. Teko Thomas; there is a customer of our financial institution with some good financial asset ($19,800,000 USD) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer (Mr. Andreas Schranner), although now late. We tried to find a possible successor to no avail. I want you to stand as the beneficiary to the said fund as a foreigner. I want you to know that this deal is risk free from you and i as long as we keep everything very confidential and you are going to see everything for yourself as we progress on this deal.
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin or relatives to come over and claim his funds because we cannot release it unless somebody applies for it as Next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines. I want you to come-in as the Next Of Kin, all needed cooperation to make the claims will be given to you. I shall perfect all legal documents in your name to make you the legal beneficiary to the funds, Once the funds are transferred to your nominated account from our Affiliated Bank, then we will share the proceeds in a ratio of 45% for me, 45% for you and 10% for the less privileged. Please it is a secret deal.
If you are interested kindly let me have the below information and I will give you more details. 1. Full name. 2: Your private telephone and Fax numbers. 3. Your contact residential address. 4. Your Age. I will discuss much in details when I receive your response.
Please, note I am a family man; I have a wife and children. I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to the consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients.
Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should act swiftly on this. Please get back to me immediately via the email.
I wait to hear from you shortly.
Mr. Teko Thomas.