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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Alonso S. Cristóbal" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:29:22 -0800
BANCO COOPERATIVO ESPAÑOL, S.A.
Calle la Virgen de los Peligros,
4,28013 Madrid, Spain
Te: +34 6319 397 27
Fax: +34 917 423 000
August 28TH, 2015.
My name is Mr. Cristóbal Soto Alonso, a Bank officer here in Spain. One Mr. Frank R., a citizen of your country and Crude Oil dealer who has the same surname as yours made a fixed deposit with my bank in 2008 for 108 calendar months, valued at US$35,500,000.00 (Thirty Five Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) the due date for this deposit contract was last 22nd of April 2014. Sadly Frank was among the death victims in the July 26, 2013 train crash disaster in north-west Spain that killed over 79 people. He was in Spain on a business trip and that was how he met his untimely end. My bank management is yet to know about his death, I knew about it because he was my friend and I am his Account Officer. Frank did not mention any Next of Kin/ Heir when the account was opened, he was not married and no children. Last week my Bank Management requested that Frank should give instructions on what to do about his funds, if to renew the contract.
I know this will happen and that is why I have been looking for a means to handle the situation, because if my Bank Directors happens to know that Frank is dead and do not have any Heir, they will take the funds for their personal use, so I don't want such to happen. That is why I am seeking your co-operation to present you as the Next of Kin/ Heir to the account, since you are a foreigner and my bank head quarters will release the account to you. There is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect us from any breach of law. It is better that we claim the money, than allowing the Bank Directors to take it, they are rich already. I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds in this ratio, 50/50%, equal sharing.
If this business proposal offends your moral ethics, do accept my sincere apology but if on the contrary you wish to achieve this goal with me, please kindly contact me with your interest and please do treat this information highly confidential. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response.+34 6319 397 27, fax +34 917 423 000 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a nice day. Anticipating your communication.
Thank you and God bless. PLEASE TREAT AS TOP SECRET.
Mr. Cristóbal Soto Alonso.
Audit And Accounting Manager
Banco Cooperativo Español, S.A
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