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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "u.k " (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "KELLY ZHONG"<email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:24:27 +0800
Subject: FROM: KELLY ZHONG
From: Kelly Zhong
Request for Confidential Business Relationship
I know that this will come to you as a surprise since we donât know each other before. For the purpose of introduction, I was a silent business partner to the Former CEO (Tony Hayward) of British Petroleum (BP), in United Kingdom. After due deliberation , I decided to contact you for your assistance in standing as benefactor to the sum of US$45.5 Million (Forty Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) equivalent because, I and two other colleagues are currently in need of a silent foreign partner whose identity we can use to transfer the said sum. This fund accrued legitimately to us as commission from foreign contracts (Oil Spill in The Gulf Of Mexico) with British Petroleum during my time in active service through our private connections.
The fund is presently waiting to be remitted from London in The United Kingdom to any overseas beneficiary confirmed by me as associate/receiver. By virtue of my political position, I cannot acquire this money with my name. For this reason I took it upon myself to look for an overseas silent partner who could work with me to facilitate transfer of this fund for our mutual benefit, hence the reason for this message. What I am requesting from you is:
(1) To be my silent partner and receive the funds as the sole benefactor to the contract amount which I shall secure all legal documentation here in U.K to authenticate my claim on your behalf.
(2) Provide a private telephone number for easy communication under your control.
(3)Receive the funds as the beneficiary, Take out your commission after tax and keep the rest of the money until I arrive there to meet you after the transfer is completed.
My proposal is that after you receive the funds, it would be shared as follows: (1) 20% to you as commission for your co-operation and assistance in facilitating the transfer from The United Kingdom to any of your nominated account, while the remaining 80% belongs to me . You will be free to take out your commission immediately after the money hits your country. Since my objective is to invest the money in a foreign country, it would be appreciated if you could also help me with advice and direction on investing into profitable/lucrative ventures in your country for an additional 5%.
However, this is optional, and if it is not convenient for you to further assist us with investing the money, we can end our cooperation after you make available to us our part of the money.
The transaction, although discrete, is legitimate and the money will be transferred successfully with all necessary back-up documents showing legitimate source/origin of fund.
The transfer will be effected within a period not longer than two weeks as soon as we reach an agreement and you furnish me with a suitable response indicating your interest for processing the transfer to my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I plead with you on one issue, whether you are interested or not, kindly do not expose this information to anyone else. I confirm that the transaction is legitimate and without any risks either to us or yourself. Please, your immediate response will be highly appreciated whether you are interested or not.