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)
- "please indicate your interest" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transfer into your 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)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Madini Mohamed <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 22:38:03 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Kindly reply if you are interested.
Greetings to you and your family, I am the manager of bill and exchange in
THE BANK, I have a business of 5.5 Million United State Dollars to be transfer
to your account for investment in your country, if you are ready to assist me
get back to me, I will give you full details on how the fund will be transfer to
Be rest assured that everything will be handled confidentially because, this
is a great opportunity we cannot afford to miss, as it will make our family
profit a lot.
It has been 6 years go, that most of the greedy African Politicians used our
bank to launder money overseas through the help of their Political advisers.
Most of the funds which they transferred out of the shores of Africa were
gold and oil money that was supposed to have been used to develop the
The Political advisers always inflated the amounts before transfer to foreign
accounts so I also used the opportunity to divert part of the fund worth five
million five hundred united state dollars I told you about and I am aware
that there is no official trace of how much was transferred as all the
accounts used for such transfers of fund at that particle time were closed
I am the account officer to most of the politicians and when I discovered that
they were using me to succeed in their greedy act, I also cleaned some of
their banking records from the Bank files and no one cared to ask me for the
money was too much for them to control, as I am sending this message to
you, I was able to divert five point five Millions Dollars ($5.5M) which is in an
escrow transit account belonging to no one in the bank, and now my bank is
very anxious to know the real beneficiary of the funds is for they have made
a lot of profits with the fund.
It has been more than five years ago and most of the politicians are no
longer in power again and they donât use our bank to transfer funds
overseas anymore since their tenure had expired.
The $5.5 Million United State Dollars has been lying in the bank as
unclaimed fund and i will soon retire from the bank immediately the fund is
transfer into your account over there.
Immediately the fund has been successfully transfer into your account i will
come to your country for the sharing of the fund, the fund will be shared 50%
for me and 40% for you, and the other 10% for the orphanages home and
poor with less-privilege people.
Please know that there is no one that is going to question you about the
fund if you will comply with me and follow my instruction which will help us
a lot to achieve this goal for everything is well secured.
Please indicate your interest in this transaction by replying back and if you
are not interested do not waste your time to reply kindly delete my message
from your box ok.
Waiting to hear from you soon.
Mrs Madini Mohamed.