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:
- "there are practically no risks involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: peter smith <petersmith07776@YAHOO.CO.UK>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 22:45:50 +0300
Subject: CAN YOU BE TRUSTED
I write you with all honest desire to help me to secure the sum of
Â£6,500,400 (Six million, Five hundred thousand, four hundred British Pounds
Sterling) only in a dormant account in my bank here in London, UK. This
account has been dormant since November 2009. The account is without an
inheritor or Next of Kin linked to it. The account owner is late. He died
in February 2009 with his wife and their only daughter.
Trying to link up his other relatives is not an option for me as there is
no beneficiary/inheritor attached to the account; So I decided to contact
you in other to make you the beneficiary/inheritor as the next of kin to
the fund since you share the same last name with the deceased account
owner. I will process papers presenting you as the inheritor to the account
and the fund therein and it will be paid to you without any problems. Be
aware that I am in good position to work on the files of the late account
holder and present who the inheritor is to my bank. There are practically
no risks involved as long as you will remain honest to me and follow my
instructions. The processes will be executed under a very legitimate
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law and it will be
simply a bank-to-bank Telegraphic transfer (Swift/Telex). Your major role
would be to stand as the beneficiary to this fund in my bank and provide an
account where the fund will be transferred to. If you accept write me back
(email@example.com) and I will tell you what we will do to
accomplish this. Please note that your participation will be 40% of the
total fund transferred to your account.
My kind Regards,