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:
- "top of the day to you" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "hundred thousand 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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Odome Michael." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2012 07:23:43 +0200
Subject: New Personal Request.
Personal Business Memo.
Top of the day to you as i apologize for using this medium to seek for your assistance/partnership in a business transaction of this nature even though the business is of mutual benefit to me and you. I am Dr. Michael Odome and i work in the auditing department of the African Development Bank, (Cape Town) South Africa. A foreigner, Late Engr. Nicolas O. Satra, an oil merchant/contractor with The Petroleum, Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (SOC) Limited (PetroSA), who have bank with us until his death few years ago; has a closing balance of US$14.5Million (Fourteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) which our bank now unquestionably expects to be claimed by any of his available next of kin or alternatively have the funds remitted into the escrow account of The South African Reserve Bank as an unclaimed funds should no one come forward to claim it within a period of time. Deliberate effort has being made by our bank to get in touch with any of this Late Engr. Nicolas O. Satra family o
In order to avert this negative development, I and some of my trusted colleagues in our bank now seek your permission to have you stand as the next of kin to Late Engr. G. O. Satra (even though you might not share the same last name with him) so as for this funds (US$14.5M) to be transferred to you. All documents and proofs to enable you act as the next of kin and claim these funds has been carefully worked out and we are assuring you of an 100% risk free transaction. Your share for providing us your assistance will be 40% of the total funds while the rest will be for us as we are only trying to make a better future for our family, considering the poor standard of living in South Africa. If this proposal is okay by you, then you can contact me through my secure email address (email@example.com) so that i can provide you with further explanations of the procedures to be followed.
Thank you for your anticipated co-operation as i hope to hear from you.
Dr. Michael Odome.