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)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Martin Buma" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 05:45:30 -0800
Subject: Re: You are the Next of KIN to Gold Trader $9.4 million
I am Martin Buma, The head of auditing and accounting section of my bank. With due respect and regards, I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that will be very beneficial to both of us at the end of the transaction.
We had a foreign client from your country who deposited a huge sum of money (USD$9.4Million) with our bank. Eventually, this client was among the victims of car accident that crashed on the 31-10-2008 in Kumasi road but, since then we have not had any body coming for the claims as the next of kin.
A situation I have monitored closely with my position in the bank. Now, having monitored this deposit over the years after his death, and hence nobody has showed up as the next of kin for the past three and half years, I have moved the file to my private volt.
I now solicit for your assistance to present you as the next of kin as every other arrangement has being concluded by me and I am only waiting for a foreigner to enable me move the fund to his account. This does not have any risk attached to it as all the internal documentations will be handled by me. I therefore request you to confirm your interest by a return message and I will furnish you with details.
Your interest will be negotiable before we commence this project.
Send all massage to my private mail box: email@example.com
I look forward to hear from you soonest.