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)
- "million 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Aristid Sayogou <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 19:12:48 +0000
Subject: Dear friend, you have to please reply swiftly.
With all due respect, please kindly welcome this letter as it might
meet you in utmost surprise, please forgive my intrusion into your
privacy. My name is Mr. Aristid Sayogou, it was due to the urgency
implied and the need for a foreign partner that made me contact you
today for a business transaction.
When auditing abandoned and outstanding accounts in our bank, I
discover the secret file of one of our late customers, who died in a
plane crash with his entire family on 31 July 2008. He lodged some
money into this bank ($8.000,000.00) Eight Million United State
Dollars. Since then we have made several inquiries to locate any of
his extended relatives, but our several attempts was unsuccessful as
he neither left a Will nor any next of kin to this fund.
After these several frantic searches proved unsuccessful, I personally
decided to contact you and to seek your consent to assist me for the
fund to be transferred. I have the opportunity to transfer the fund as
I work here in the bank as the director of Audit section, all I
require is your honest co-operation to see this transaction through.
If you will give me a full assurance that you can handle this
business, then forward to me this information: your full name, age,
sex, occupation, cell phone number, address and country.
If you agree to my business proposal please reply me as soon as
possible. On the receipt of your positive response, further details
and modalities for the transfer will be forwarded to you.
With best regards,
Mr. Aristid Sayogou.