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 united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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.
- 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: Mr Raymond Thabo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 16:44:04 -0500
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL RESPONSE
I am. Raymond Thabo,
Head Accounts Management Section of a well known Bank here in South Africa
.One of our accounts with holding balance of US$10,000,000 (Ten Million United States
Dollars) has been dormant and last Operated in the past four (4) years. From
investigations and confirmations, the owner of this account is a German
Foreigner by name Adolf Merckle aged
74 years old, who committed suicide on January 5th 2009 after his business
empire ran into trouble in the global economic financial crisis. Please refer
to the news website below to read more about our late client.
Since then nobody has
done anything as regards to the claiming of this money, as he has no family
member here in South Africa
that is aware of the existence of either the account or the fund. Several
attempt to trace any of his relative proof abortive and Information from the
National Immigration office states that late Adolf Merckle was alone on point
of entry into South Africa.
Institution is presently and by law the custodian of the money belonging to the
deceased, whose account I am responsible for monitoring and officiating. The
present mandate I have to present a credible beneficiary opens the way for us
to take advantage of the situation and use the money to positively affect the
lives of many instead of allowing the funds to be completely lost, since no one
knows about the money and no one will come forward to claim the money as we
I have confidentially
discussed this issue with some of the bank officials and we have agreed to find
a reliable foreign partner to deal with. We thus propose to do business with
you, standing in as the next of kin of this fund from the deceased and fund
released to you after due processes have been followed.
This transaction is
totally free of risk and legal as the fund is Legitimate and does not originate
from drug or money laundry. On your interest, please send to me your contact
Telephone number, Full names, Age, Occupation and Residential address.