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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 us 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.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447031800873 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Paul R. Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 20:29:15 -0400
Subject: RE: REQUEST FOR URGENT AND BENEFICIAL ASSISTANCE.
Mr. Paul R. Smith
Hello My Friend,
REQUEST FOR URGENT AND BENEFICIAL ASSISTANCE.
This letter must come to you as a surprise, but I believe that it takes just a contact for people to meet and become great friends and business partners. This is a personal and private letter directed to you and I request that it be treated as such.
My name is Paul R. Smith, a Retired Financial Consultant. I was the personal Financial Advisor to the late Eng. Norio Kawamura, a Japanese-American hereafter referred to as 'My late Client'. He was a successful Businessman here in The United Kingdom but died in a car crash along with his immediate family members on the 21st of December 2002. Shortly after his death I was directed by his bank to locate any of his extended relatives whom shall be claimant / beneficiary of his fixed deposit account with the bank valued at £10 Million Great British Pounds (Approximately 16.3 Million US Dollars). I tried my best to locate any of his family members but all such efforts were not successful. I also sought the assistance of the American and Japanese Embassies here in London in locating any of his relatives without any luck.
My worry now is that proceedings for forfeiture of this fund to the British Government in line with enabling laws will be initiated if no Next of Kin came forward to claim the fund by 21st of December this year (2013.) And considering the amount of fund involved and the wasteful use it will be put to should this happen, I decided to urgently search for a credible, and trustworthy person to Partner with in diverting this fund so as to put it to a judicious and useful use. I propose that the total fund be shared 60% for me and 40% for you at the conclusion of transfer to your account.
To commence the process of claim/transfer of this fund to your designated bank account, you need firstly signify your interest by contacting me via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org and then I will give you full details on gaining your confidence. I want to assure that there are no risks involved as all steps involved in achieving a smooth transfer of this fund to your account will be legally followed.
Do note that I have with me, copies of the original documents to the fixed deposit account needed to give credence and legitimacy to the claim. The documents were entrusted with me by my late client, Kawamura days after making the fixed deposit, so you need not entertain any fears. Also note that successful transfer of the Fund to your nominated account can be achieved within 14 Banking days of signifying your interest. Like I said, I require only a solemn confidentiality on this. Please, include your Private and confidential Phone numbers (preferably Mobile) in your reply.
Paul R. Smith.