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)
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million british pounds" (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)
- "hundred thousand great british pounds" (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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Nathaniel James" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2012 20:52:59 +0200
Subject: I contacted you
I am Mr. Nathaniel James the manager Accounting / Audit Department of
Credit Suisse Bank, cabot Square London United Kingdom . I contacted you
as regards to a business proposal that will be of an immense benefit to
both of us and the less privileged ones . Being the manager accounting /
audit department Greater London Regional office I discovered a sum of £
16,500,000.00 GBP ( Sixteen Million five hundred thousand Great British
pounds sterling) in an account belonging to one of our foreign customers
Late Mr. Moises Saba Masri . He was a Jewish business mogul from Mexico
that died on a helicopter crash on 2010. Mr. Saba was 47-years-old when
both his wife , his only son Avraham (Albert) and his daughter-in-law died
in a helicopter crash .
The choice of contacting you aroused from the geographical nature of where
you live particularly due to the sensitivity of the transaction and the
confidentiality herein . Now our bank has been waiting for any of the
relatives to come-up for the claim of the inheritance fund but
unfortunately all efforts has being void . I personally have been
unsuccessful in locating the relatives or any next of kin to Mr. Saba . On
this regards , I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin /
will beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account
valued at £ 16.5 Million British Pounds sterling can be paid to you .
This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages 60% to me and 40% to
you . I have secured all necessary legal documents that can be used to
back up this claim we are about to make . All I need is to upload your
names to the documents and legalize at the British High Court in order to
prove you the legitimate beneficiary . All I require now is your honest
co-operation , confidentiality and trust to enable us see this transaction
through. I guarantee you 100 % success and that this business transaction
will be executed under the ambit of law and will also protect you from any
breach of the law .
Please provide me the following as we have 5 working days to run it through :
1. Your full name
2. Telephone number
3. Contact address
Having gone through a methodical search , I decided to contact you hoping
that you will find this proposal interesting . Please on your confirmation
of this message and indicating your interest I will furnish you with more
Your consent to this e-mail and business proposal will be highly appreciated.
I look forward to hear from you soon.
Have a wonderful day.
Mr. Nathaniel James.