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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: JAMES KESSINGTON <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2013 11:21:43 +0530
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam
I AM CONTACTING YOU ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AND IN MY CAPACITY AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL APPROPRIATION AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS
AS WE HAVE APPROACHED THE LAST QUARTER OF THE 2013 FISCAL YEAR, THE UNION HAS UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED TO PAY-OFF ALL OUTSTANDING DEBTS, CONTRACT FUNDS, NEXT OF KIN INHERITANCE FUNDS, LOTTERIES WINNING FUNDS AND OTHER RELATED PAYMENTS.
MAY I BE GRANTED THE PRIVILEGE TO CONVEY TO YOU OUR UTTERMOST CONCERN AND REGRET THAT UNTIL NOW YOU HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO RECEIVE THE FUNDS FROM THE VARIOUS EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AND UNSCRUPULOUS ELEMENTS THAT WERE INVOLVED IN SCAMMING YOU, DESPITE YOUR COOPERATION IN REGARDS. SINCERELY, WE UNDERSTAND YOUR FRUSTRATION AND LOSS DUE TO THIS UNWARRANTED CIRCUMSTANCE.
THEREFORE, BE INFORMED THAT BY THIS EXTRA-ORDINARY SESSION OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL APPROPRIATION AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS; THAT, IT HAS BEEN UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED AND AGREED THAT THIS HONORABLE COMMITTEE SHOULD AS A MATTER OF RETRIBUTION AND RESTITUTION MAKE THE OUTSTANDING PAYMENT IN YOUR FAVOUR TO ANY OF YOUR NOMINATED BANK ACCOUNT.
REVERT TO US FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR ADVISE AS WE REGRET THE INCESSANT DELAY YOU ARE ENCOUNTERING IN RECEIVING EITHER YOUR INHERITANCE FUNDS, CONTRACT PAYMENT OR LOTTERY WINNINGS.
HONORABLE JAMES KESSINGTON
CHAIRMAN, HOUSE COMMITTEE
FINANCIAL APPROPRIATION AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS.