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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "account opening" (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. )
- "account opening form" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Cindy Osborne" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2014 22:26:37 +0100
Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU??
I am Cindy Osborne, client service manager of a branch bank here where late Dr. Dani was a renowned customer. He died a few years ago leaving behind a large sum of money in the commercial bank here. I will not mention the amount of money which runs into several millions in United States Dollars and the name of bank or country presently until we have agreed to a deal. I trust you will understand the need for such precautions.
So far, valuable efforts have been made to get to his people but to no avail, as he had no known relatives. He left his next of kin column in his account opening forms blank. Due to this development, the bank has been expecting someone to come forward as a close relative to claim the funds. otherwise as the national laws would have it, any dormant account for five years will be declared unclaimed and then paid into the government purse.
To avert this negative development, my colleagues and I decided to look for a reputable person to act as his next of kin. I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 3 years now. Thus, I seek your consent to present you as the next of Kin to the deceased since you have the same last names, so that the proceeds of this deposit would be sent to your provided account. We shall make arrangements with a qualified and a reliable attorney to represent you locally to avoid any inconvenience of you coming down to file such funds claim.
All legal documents to aid your claim for this fund and to prove your relationship with the deceased will be provided by us. Your help will be appreciated with 30% of the total sum which I would disclose in my next email. Please accept my apologies and keep my confidence and disregard this letter if you do not appreciate this proposition i have offered you.
I wait anxiously for your response.