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. )
- "huge deposit" (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 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.
- +447024046651 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ed Thurman" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2015 21:21:47 +0200
Subject: Necessary Note
I am Mr. Edward Thurman, an Accountant with Lloyds Bank and am the personal Account Manager to Late Mr. Luvass Hyphen.
On the 21st of April 2011, Mr. Luvass Hyphen (Herein after shall be referred to as my client), his wife and their two children were involved in a car accident in London. Unfortunately they all lost their lives in the event of the accident, since then I have made several inquiries to locate any of my client's extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several Unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the Internet, to locate any member of His family but of no avail, hence I contacted you to stand as his next of kin.
I contacted you to assist in repatriating the money in addition, property left behind by my client before they get Confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, Lloyds Bank, where the deceased had an account valued at about Four Million Great British Pounds. Consequently, the bank issued me a notice to provide the Next of Kin or have the account confiscated within the next twenty official working days.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased based on the fact that you are a foreigner so that the proceeds of this account valued at about Four Million Great British Pounds can be paid to you and then you and I can share the money. 50% to me and 40% to you, while 10% should be for expenses or tax as your government may require. An attorney will be contracted to help re-validate and notarize all the necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us sees this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
To enable us discuss further, I would like you to send me the following information so I can open up a next of kin file on your behalf here in the bank.
1. Name in full:
6. Direct Phone number:
Mr. Edward Thurman