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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- auditor attached to a bank in south africa email:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com attn: director/ceo, re: request (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Benedith Effiong" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2012 07:04:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Request for Confidential Business Relationship.
FROM: MR. THOMAS NDLOVU
18 KATHERINE STREET,
AUDITOR ATTACHED TO A BANK IN SOUTH AFRICA
Re: Request for Confidential Business Relationship
This letter may appear a bit surprising to you but it is very beneficial. As a
matter of urgency, I wish to contact you and acquaint myself with you for our mutual benefit
towards overcoming a dilemma regarding certain funds left behind in an investment account by a
deceased client of my bank here in South Africa. I am sincerely seeking your confidence in this
transaction which I propose as a person of integrity. I am Thomas Ndlovu, a native of Gauteng
Province in the Republic of South Africa and External Auditor attached to a bank in South Africa.
As An official I cannot enter claims of this money in my name as it must be released to a foreign
partner/foreign Beneficiary. The Amount is claimable with on approval of the claim by the high
court of South Africa. The committee responsible for giving approval has a mandate to release
dormant funds. Please if not interested, discard this message in order to safeguard this money.
This is why I have not given my bank name or name of the deceased owner.
2. SOURCE OF FUND:
The sum of money involved in this dormant account is US$24, 517,170.00 (Twenty Four Million, Five
Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, and One Hundred and Seventy United States Dollars). This account,
with a substantial deposit in foreign currency, has not been run for some years now. I sent out
notices for claims of this money and the Embassy informed me that the owner, a foreigner, passed
away during the Zimbabwean crisis. In actual fact, he was a Farmer who was assassinated when his
farm was taken over during the said crisis. This man had no family and left no Beneficiary
information. This Money, if not claimed, will be turned over to the treasury if someone does not
claim it, hence, my decision to contact you for your interest so I can present you as the only
survivor to the deceased.
It is required that an Application for claims be entered and approval given within 10 days so this
money can be transferred to your overseas Account. There is no risk involved because I will lay
the necessary groundwork and you will provide the overseas account to receive this money upon
approval. If this money is not claimed within the next 2 months, it will be taken to the treasury
and both of us can work together to avoid this. The funds can be invested in your country than
allowing corrupt Government officials to have access to it. I will inform you of your percentage
after I receive a favorable and positive feedback from you. Expected in your reply for us to
proceed are the following
(i) Your direct telephone and fax numbers.
(ii) Your personal company / Work profile.
3. SECURITY: All modalities for the transfer of this fund have been put
in place and I am using this opportunity to assure you that the transfer process is entirely risk
free and as such you should bring out your mind and work with me. I anticipate a favorable reply
from you as a future partner in this business.
The information contained in this email and any attachments is confidential and may be subject to copyright or other intellectual property protection. If you are not the intended recipient, you are not authorized to use or disclose this information, and we request that you notify us by reply mail or telephone and delete the original message from your mail system.