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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "is 100% risk free" (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 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.
- +448713159471 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "Mr. Simon Pap" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 20:36:33 +0530
Subject: From Mr. Simon Pap.
>From Mr.Simon Pap.
Auditing and Account manager
LLOYDS TSB BANK PLC
Phone: +44 871 315 9471
My Dear Friend,
I am Mr. Simon Pap, the director in charge of auditing and accounting section of Lloyds TSB Bank PLC LONDON UNITED KINGDOM, and also a special account officer of Mr. Rajesh Gupta, of India . He was a seasoned contractor with London Cement Company, UNITED KINGDOM , who unfortunately died in a plane crash of Union Transport Africaines Flight Boeing 727 in LONDON UNITED KINGDOM on 25th December, 2003. Before his death on the 25th December 2003, Mr. Gupta has a fixed deposit account with the bank and no other person know about this account or have any information relating to this account.
The account has no beneficiary or next-of-kin other than him, my investigation reveal that his supposed next-of-kin died along with him in the crash. Since then, I have made several enquiries to locate any of his extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful.
After several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to contact you. I'm contacting you to assist in remittance of a dormant fund as the next of kin left behind by Mr. Gupta so as not to allow the bank confiscate or declare the funds unserviceable in the account according to United Kingdom financial law on unclaimed bills which the government usually map out for the purchase of ammunitions which are the major course of conflicts in the UNITED KINGDOM. Consequently, I'm seeking your consent to present you as the next-of-kin to the deceased customer so that the outstanding fixed deposit (US$7.8M) will be remitted into any designated account of yours to be shared by both of us in the ratio of 60% to me and 40% for you.
I have all necessary legal documents to back up this claim. All that is required of you is absolute honesty, total commitment, co-operation & absolute confidentiality. Be rest-assured that this transaction will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect both parties from breach of the law and it is 100% risk free and attracts no authorities and every information you will require as the next of kin will be forwarded to you after your final acceptance to help me champion this deal. If this proposal is acceptable to you, kindly email your following information to me.
a. Full Name(s)
b. Direct phone & fax number(s)
c. Your personal email and your complete home address.
Thank you for your co-operation until I read from you. You may also reach me at my private mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me for further information on +44 871 315 9471.
Mr. Simon Pap.