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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: TONY EZE <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 12:21:23 +0100
Subject: I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE FOR THIS TRANSACTION
I am Mr. Tony Eze, with Skye Bank Nigeria Plc, I Hoped that you will
not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to
establish with you for the mutual benefit of you and I.
Meanwhile, I am an account officer with a deceased customer, and After
his death nobody has ever come to claim the money as his next of kin
and the total amount in the account is $12.5million US dollars, so My
intention now is to transfer the money to any Foreign account and
needs your partnership for easy assistance hence nobody has ever come
forward for the claim of the said money.
The reason why I contacted you is that after the bank audit in 24th of
November, last year the found out that this fund has remained
unclaimed since the death of the deceased costumer.
I want our bank to release this fund to you as the nearest person to
our deceased customer while I come over to your country to share this
fund with you as soon as you confirm this fund into your Bank account
and ask me to come over, I don't want the money to go into our Bank
treasure as an abandoned fund, So this is the reason why I contacted
you so that our bank will release the money to you as the next of kin
to the deceased customer.
However, Please if you are interested to stand as the next of kin to
the money kindly reply me back immediately for more advice it is an
urgent matter and will like you to keep this proposal as a top secret
and delete it if you are not interested.
Mr. Tony Eze