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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Johnson Moyo" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 11:45:38 +0200
Subject: Next of kin
Thank you very much for your time and effort to read my letter. I write due to the urgent need
for a capable foreign partner required in this very lucrative and profitable transaction.
I am a banker by profession based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have the opportunity of being
the personal banker to the below under mentioned businessman. I as well handled transferring
the lump Sum of (37-Million-Dollars; Thirty-Seven-Million- Dollars) that belongs
to Late Mr. & Mrs. RODNEY BURROWS who both victims of the Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and were since then the fund has been in a suspense account awaiting any next of kin to claim the funds.
However, I kept this information confidential (SECRET) within my jurisdiction to enable us
submit claims and transfer this fund through trustworthy person whom we shall present to our
bank as the BONAFIDE "NEXT OF KIN" to the deceased. I intend to credit this fund into any of
your nominated (designated) offshore bank account for investments. Meanwhile, all domestic
arrangements for claims have been put in place awaiting your acceptance to participate. Kindly
understand that I could not carry out this on my own as based on the simple facts that I'm a civil
servant and excluded from operating foreign account and too, it will raise eyebrows on our side
in terms of transfer being staff of the bank.
Hence, I am inviting you for a business deal where the money can be shared between us in the
ratio of 50 percent for me and 50 percent for you. The transfer is risk free on both sides hence you are going to follow my instruction till the fund is transferred to your account. Further details of the transfer and text of application form will be forwarded to you as soon as I receive your return mail and you should contact me on +27-74-295-9705 or e-mail
Upon receipt of your reply e-mail or telephone call, I will be forwarding you the procedures and
requirements for the transaction.
Trusting to hear from you promptly,