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:
- "hundred thousand 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 next of kin scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Moses Osei <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 10:59:07 +0100 (BST)
Subject: FROM MR. M. OSEI
My name is Mr. Moses Osei. I am the foreign operation officer in Bank, Ghana that covers the entire West Africa region. On routine auditing last month, I discovered an account that has been dormant for the last Sixteen (16) years. The account belongs to a single holder with monies totaling $9.5M (Nine Millions Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars).
This set of facts is my reason for writing and making the following proposal to you. The investor died in 2003 the exact time the account was last operated, I can confirm with certainty that the said investor died inter-state without appointing a next of kin. I am of the settled conviction that using my insider leverage and working with you can secure the funds in the account for the both of us and can be used for charity purpose, helping the needy instead of allowing it pass through has a bonded fund for the Authorities to share within themselves. This exactly is why I need your participation and co-operation in this matter.
I have seized all relevant documents (legal and banking) that will facilitate my putting you forward as the beneficiary of the funds and ultimately transfer the money to any account nominated by you anywhere in the world. Your share for this will be 40% from the total fund for your co-operation. I shall however leave out the details of this transaction till I receive an affirmation of your desire to participate with me. Be assured that I am on top of the situation.
There will be NO risk involved whatsoever if you agree to come on board. This should be kept as utmost confidential between us. I guarantee that the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you and me from any breach of law. To affirm your willingness and cooperation to my proposal please contact me with the followings: Full Name, Address and Cell Phone Numbers
Please do reach me through my private email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.
Mr. Moses Osei.