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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "to your nominated bank account" (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 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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Cheung Pui" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 13:57:20 +0100
Subject: Business Proposal/From Cheung Pui.
My sincere greetings to you.My name is Mr. Cheung Pui,director of operations of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Sai Wan Ho Branch.I have a business proposal for you.
A client of my bank, Major Fadi Basem who was with the Iraqi forces and also businessman made a numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of Twenty Four million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars only in my branch.This fixed deposit was made before the US and Iraqi war.Upon maturity several notice was sent to him.Again,after the war another notification was sent and still no response came from him. We later found out that the Major and his family had been killed during the war in bomb blast that hit their home.
Upon further investigation it was also discovered that Major Fadi Basem did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank deposit.And he also confided in me the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank.So, Twenty Four million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it.Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Major Fadi Basem so that you will be able to receive his funds.
There is no risk involved at all in the matter as we are going adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessary documents. Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue.Once the funds have been transferred to your nominated bank account we shall share in the ratio of 70% for me,25% for you,and 5% for any expenses incurred during the course of the operation.Should you be interested please send me your full names and current residential address and I will prefer you to reach me on the email address: email@example.com