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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transferred into your bank account" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Sasha Kutah <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2012 22:13:13 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Unclaimed funds.
I hope that you will not expose or betray this trust that I am about to impose on you. I decided to contact you to help me actualise this business for the mutual benefit of both our families. My name is Sasha Kutah the Auditing and Accounting section manager in Banque Regionale de solidarite Burkina Faso (BRS BANK), there is one of our customers who have made fixed deposit of sum of ($39.5)million for 7 years and upon maturity; I sent the notification to his address, but no response. After few months, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his business partner that he died after a brief illness in his country. We tried everything humanly possible to locate his relatives or family, but all efforts failed. The deposit is still intact with my bank and the interest is being paid into the principal sum at the end of each year.
If the fund remains in the account for more months, the fund will be confiscated and transferred into the treasury of the Government as unclaimed funds. This is why I contact you for joining hands with the honesty and truth to ensure that the fund is transferred into your bank account, a bank account anywhere in the world can help the transfer. All that is required of you is to contact my bank with the information I will send you as the next of kin or a business associate of the depositor with this system the fund will be paid into a bank account you will provide to the bank. To be honest with you, this is totally legal and 100% risk free.
But the secret must remain between you and me, I can assure you that I have worked with this bank for many years and I know all the secrets and I have carefully mapped out my perfect strategies to handle this operation successfully. The depositor is my close friend before his death that is the main reason why I'm the only one working at the bank here that knows much about the existence of this fund and the secrets and the depositor. We will also use some part of the funds to help the orphanage and less privileged children in the world.
Please keep this proposal as a secret between us and delete it immediately in your mail box if you are not interested. But if you are interested give me an answer immediately. I await your response.Mr. Sasha Kutah.