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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Admin" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2014 10:40:43 -0500
From: Mr. Amos Masonda
Old Mutual Bank of South Africa
I know that this e-mail will come to you as a surprise since we dont know
each other before now. For purpose of introduction, I am Mr. Amos Masonda
ex- Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa, currently holding the position of
Executive Board Manager of Old Mutual Bank of South Africa (OMBSA)
There is an account that was opened in this bank in 1989 and since 1998
nobody has operated on this account. Again after going through some files
on records, I discovered that
if I do not remit this money out urgently it would be forfeited for
nothing. The owner of this account was Arne D. Johaness, a foreigner and a
miner at Kruger Gold Co Pty Ltd South Africa He was a geologist by
profession and he died since 1998. No one knows about this account or any
thing about it. The account has no other beneficiaries /next of kin and my
investigation proved to me as much. The amount involved is Fifteen
Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollar (US$15.5 million).
Im only contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be
approved for transfer to a local bank here, rather can only be approved
for transfer to any foreign accounts because the money is in US Dollar and
the late beneficiary of the account Mr. Arne D. Johaness was a foreigner
too. I want to seal this business with you. Your role will be to provide
an off-shore account where this money will be transferred into, and to act
as the next of kin to the previous late beneficiary of this account.
I need us to meet face to face, in the event whereby this were not to be
possible we can henceforth proceed with the transaction and sign a binding
agreement to bind us together so that you can receive this money into a
foreign account or any account of your choice where the fund will be safe.
And I will fly to your country for withdrawal and sharing and other
investments. I am involving you in this transaction because of the above
reasons. I need your full co-operation to make this work fine because the
management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner, who has
correct information of this account, which I will give to you later.
Please reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to take
immediately. If interested do give me a call or email with your full
Im looking forward to your prompt response.
Mr. Amos Masonda