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:
- "million united states dollars" (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 next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Joe William" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 22:55:15 +0100 (BST)
I wish to inform you that this letter is not a hoax mail and I urge you to treat it serious. I am Mr Joe William, Chief Executive Officer working in one of the banks here in London. During the course of our auditing last week, I discovered a floating fund in an account opened in the bank in 2000 and since 2004 nobody has operated on this account again, after going through some old files in the records I discovered that the owner of the account died without a [Heir/WILL] hence the money is floating and if I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for nothing.
The owner of this account is an American and a great industrialist and a resident of Alaska State, who unfortunately lost his life in the plane, crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which crashed on January 31 2003, including his wife and only daughter leaving nobody to claim the money. No other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that the account is a secret account. The total amount involved is Thirty million United States Dollars only [$30,000.000.00] and we wish to transfer this money into a safe foreigners account abroad. But I don't know any foreigner; I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved to a local person here, but to a foreigner who has information about the account, which I shall give to you upon your positive response.
I am revealing this to you with believe in God that you will never let me down in this business, you are the first and the only person that I am contacting for this business, so I am constrained to issue more details about this business until your response is received.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Mr Joe William.
Chief Executive Officer.