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 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)
- "% will be for you" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Oseni Zongo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr. Oseni Zongo" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 23:24:47 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Dear Friend,
I know that this message might meet you in utmost
surprise. However, it's just my urgent need for foreign partner that
made me to contact you for this transaction; I got your contact from the
professional data base found in the internet Yahoo tourist search when I
was searching for a foreign reliable partner. I assured of your
capability and reliability to champion this business opportunity.
am (Mr. Oseni Zongo) a banker by profession from Cotonou ,Republic of
Benin in west Africa and currently holding the post of Audits and
Account manager at the foreign remittance department, African
development bank(A.D.B) I have the opportunity of transferring the left
over sum of ($10.5 Million Dollars) that belongs to late Mr. Rudi
Harmanto, from Indonesia who died along with his entire family in the
Asia Earth Quake (TSUNAMI, DISASTER IN INDONESIA / INDIA. 2004, and
since then the fund has been in a suspense account.
further investigation, I discovered that Mr. Rudi Harmanto died with his
next of kin and according to the laws and constitution guiding this
banking institution, stated that after the expiration of (10) years, if
no body or person comes for the claim as the next of kin, the fund will
be channel into national treasury as unclaimed fund. Because of the
static of this transaction I want you to stand as the next of kin so
that our bank will accord you their recognition and have the fund
transfer to your bank account.
Note that this transaction is
risk-free; it will never harm your good reputation in your society
because no one can trace the Account.Note; The total fund is Ten million
Five hundred united state dollars, and after the fund is transferred
into your account 40% will be for you in respect of all your assistance
for the transfer of the fund into your account and provision of the bank
account where the bank will remit the fund, 50% will be for me being
the pioneer of the business while the rest 10% will be shared to
respectable organizations such as charity and the destitute homes around
us in the world.
However, further details of this transaction
and the text of application form will be forwarded to you as soon as I
receive your return mail. Once again accept my apology for sending you
unsolicited anti-spam mail it was as a result of recent connection error
from our Telecommunication.
I am waiting for your immediate response as you receive this mail. Extend my
Sincere greetings to your entire family. God bless you and bye for now.
Mr. Oseni Zongo