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:
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "dormant account" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Christopher Philips" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 12:53:08 -0400
I presumed that all is well with you and your family. Please let this proposal not come to you as a surprise, because we haven't met before. My name is Christopher Philips, I'm an employee of Bank of China (UK) Limited London. I am also a member of an Ad hoc committee recently set up by the British Government to look into growing number of dormant accounts in UK banks due to deaths of customers, with a view to finding ways of locating relatives of the dead customers. The British Government is already working with some NGO'S through the unclaimed Assets Register, to confiscate and divert unclaimed depositor's funds to help the bad economy.
Read this article below:
This transaction involves a customer at my bank who shares the same surname with you and also the circumstances surrounding huge deposits of British Pounds made by this client at the private banking arm of my bank "Bank of China, UK". The Bank of China Private Banking customer died in testate and nominated no successor in title over the huge deposits of GBP6,759,000.00 made with my bank. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this email private and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this email. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this email private and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this email. I'm contacting you independently of our investigation and no one is informed of this communication between you and I. I would like to intimate you with facts that I believe would be of interest to you.I will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you. I assure you that I
There is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth undertaking. I have evaluated the risks and the only risk I have here is from you refusing to work with me. I am the only one who knows of this situation, good fortune has blessed you with a name that has planted you into the center of relevance in my life. Lets share the blessing. If you give me positive signals, I will initiate this process towards a conclusion. I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what 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 customers. Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should plan a meeting, soon.