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)
- "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. )
- 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.
- +447011137826 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Lawrence Vis" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 07:35:47 +0900
Subject: OFFER LETTER
560 Salisbury House
London Wall Broadgate London
EC2M 5NU,United Kingdom
Please accept my apologies if this request does not meet your personal ethics as it is not intended to cause you any embarrassment in what ever form. I got your contact email address from the internet directory and decided to contact you for this transaction that is based on trust and your outstanding. I have an interesting business proposal for you that will be of immense benefit to both of us. Although this may be hard for you to believe, but please grant me the benefit of doubt and hear me out because we stand to gain GBP19,850,000.00 between us in a matter of days. .
My name is Lawrance Vis. I work with KAS Bank here in London as a branch bank manager. I discovered an abandoned sum of 19,850,000.00 GBP (Nineteen Million Eight Hundred And Fifty Thousand British Pounds) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers Late Dr. Erin Jacobson, an American citizen who unfortunately lost his life and his entire family in Montana plane crash on March 23, 2009, on their way to a group ski vacation. The choice of contacting you is aroused from the geographical nature of where you live, particularly due to the sensitivity of this transaction and the confidentiality herein. Now our bank has been waiting for any of the relatives to come up for the claim but nobody has done that. I personally tried to locate any member of his family but have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for 6 years now, i have also checked the deposit documents and discovered that he did not declare any next of kin on the deposit.
The Management of our bank as instructed me to look for the next of kin or they will convert the funds into the Government Treasury Account as unclaimed funds and the funds will be wasted. Therefore, I cannot claim these funds without presenting a foreigner to stand as next of kin. This is reason why I contacted you to seek your consent to present you as an next of kin so that the funds will be release to you, then we share it 50% for me and 50% for you because am not a greedy person and is deal between me and you.
I have employed the service of an Attorney who will secure all necessary legal documents that could be used to back up this claim. All the attorney need to do is to fill in your names to the documents and legalize it in the Court here to prove you as the legitimate next of kin to the late depositor Dr. Erin Jacobson then the bank will release the funds to you as the rightful beneficiary.
This is a fair deal without any risk attached either on your part or on my part as long as we comply with the laws governing the claiming of funds in our establishment. All I require is your honest co-operation to enable us sees this deal through, and with my position in the bank as a bank manager, I will do every thing possible to protect your interest and to make sure that everything workout successfully.
If you are interested in this deal, kindly send me your complete information, your full names and address, Your Private telephone and Fax numbers, and Cell phone so that the attorney will start processing the necessary paperwork that would facilitate the release of the funds to you.
Dr. Lawrence Vis.