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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "trunk box" (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)
- "trunk boxes" (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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr.Thomas Okon" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2014 03:02:10 +0800
Subject: Send Your Response
MANAGER GULF BANK PLC.
I am DR.THOMAS OKON The Manager Gulf Bank, Lagos, Nigeria. I have urgent
and-very confidential business proposition for you. On the 17th Feb 2012, a
Foreign Oil consultant/contractor with the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation, Mr.Mahmud Aliyu made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for some
months, valued at S$32,500,000.00 (Thirty-two Million Five hundred Thousand
Dollars only) in my branch.
Upon maturity,I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got
no reply. After a month,we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his
contract employers,the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that Mr.Mahmud
Aliyu on Sunday, 3 June 2012 died in a plane crash on Dana air Flight 992 a
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft This crash happened in Lagos Nigeria and
since his untimely death the funds has been dormant in his account with my
Bank without any claim of the fund, On further investigation, I found out that
he died without making a WILL, and all attempts to trace his next of kin was
I therefore made further investigation and discovered that Mr.Mahmud Aliyu did
not declare any kin or relations in all his official documents, including his
Bank Deposit paperwork in my Bank.
This sum of US$32,500,000.00 has carefully been moved out of my bank to a
security company and finance company for safe-keeping.No one will ever come
forward to claim it.
According to Nigerian Law,at the expiration of 5 (five) years, the money will
revert to the ownership of the Nigerian Government if nobody applies to claim
the fund.Consequently, my
proposal is that I will like you as a Foreigner to stand in as the next of kin
to the late Mr.Mahmud Aliyu as to claim the money I deposited with the
security and finance company in two trunk boxes, though the security company
does not know the real contents of the boxes as I tagged them to be
photographic materials for export.
am writing you because as a public servant, we can not operate a foreign
account or have an account outside the country I want to present you as the
owner of the two trunk boxes in the security company so you can be able to
claim the funds with the help of my attorney.
All these are to make sure that the fruits of this old man's labor will not
get into the hands of some corrupt government officials.
This is simple.I will like you to provide immediately your full names and
address so that the Attorney will prepare the necessary documents which will
put you in place as the owner of the boxes. The money will be moved out for us
to share in the ratio of 60% for me and 35%
for you and 5% will take care of all expenses incurred on both side.
There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done
by the Attorney and this will guarantee the successful execution of this
if you are interested, pleas reply immediately via my email address,as soon as
i got your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant
documents that will help you understand the transaction.
Please observe with utmost confidentiality, and be rest assured that this
be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to
invest my share in your country. Hoping to hear from you.