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)
- "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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Ahmed Motula <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 00:51:33 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Dear Friend Trust,
Dear Friend Trust,
I am personal Assistant to the Branch Manager of Bank Of Africa(BOA)
Ouagadougou Burkina Faso. I want to inquire from you if you can handle this
transaction for mutual benefits/life opportunity for you and me.
The transaction is about seeking your consent to present you as the next of kin/
beneficiary of the US$10.6MILLION DOLLAR,(TEN MILLION SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND
UNITED STATES DOLLARS),and who is a customer to the bank where i work.
He died in a Kenya plane crash 2003, with his family during their vacation
journey. The Fund is currently in a suspense account awaiting claim, the bank
made a public notice that they are ready to release this fund to any of his
THEREFORE, by virtue of its nature as being utterly CONFIDENTIAL, top secret
should be maintained please!,because i am still in the active service i do not
need any form of implication especially now i'm in the verge of my retirement
to endanger my carear at last!.
Since we got the information about his death, we have been expecting his next
of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless
some body applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as
indicated in our banking guidelines and laws.
In that regard, i decided to seek your consent for this prospective
Have it at the back of your mind, that the transaction does not
involve any RISK, and does not need much engagement from you, since i am
familiar with this kind of transaction being an insider.Necessary modalities
will be worked out to enable us carry out the fund claim under a legitimate
I have resolved to offer you 30% of the total fund, 10% for sundry
expenses that may be incurred during the process of executing this transaction
and 60% percent for me.
I will give you more details about the transaction when I receive your
affirmative response,more clarification information.
I'm waiting to hear from you soon.
Thanks and God bless,