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:
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. Dalibor" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 08 Oct 2014 23:54:38 +0100
Subject: Very Urgent
I am a German Solicitor resident in Germany. I was the personal Attorney to Mr.Foo Ming Lee, a national of Malaysia who used to work with a contruction company here in Germany.
Mr.Foo Ming Lee 52 years old made a fixed deposit of funds valued at Nineteen Million Euros with a Bank here in Europe and unfortunately lost his life in the
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down by pro-Russian separatists on 17 July 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board as you can see on the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Airlines_Flight_17
To the best of my knowledge as his personal attorney, Mr.Foo Ming Lee has no living beneficiary or next of kin therefore, I want you to reply me immediately after reading this email so that, I can prepare the necessary legal documents and present you to the bank as the only surviving relative to Mr.Foo Ming Lee and instruct the bank to wire the deposit funds Nineteen Million Euros into your provided account.
You and I shall share the money 50% / 50% therefore, after receiving the money from the bank, you will have to transfer my 50% to my account which i shall provide to you.
There is no risk involved as I would provide all the legal documents to back you up and also present you to the bank personally as the rightful beneficiary to the
deposit funds. But I would required your sincerity, honesty and co-operation to enable us accomplish this successfully in few days.
Your response is urgently needed. You may also send your telephone number so that I can call you. Do not forget that a project of this magnitude requires utmost confidentiality.
Waiting to hear from you.
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