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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand u.s 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)
- "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)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 2015 18:12:22 +0200
Subject: BUSINESS DEAL.
Greetings. First I must solicit your confidence in this transaction; this is by virtue of its nature as it is utterly top secret. I know it may come to you as a surprise, but I sincerely apologize if it invades on your privacy. My name is Mr. Stephen Tshabalala, Chief System Analyst of Nedbank of South Africa, Westville Branch, Kwazulu Natal. I am a South African.
I am writing to solicit for your assistance in the transfer of USD$10,200,000.00 (Ten Million Two Hundred Thousand U.S Dollars). This amount is part of the funds stashed into South Africa by the late Libyan President (Muammar Gaddafi) before his sudden death in 2011. As the Chief Data custodian of the bank, I cloned the amount placed it in a suspense account without a beneficiary. By so doing, I deleted the data of the original beneficiary and saved it as unclaimed funds without a beneficiary. I need to move the fund as an investment funds out from our bank. Here I need your assistant.
As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this fund thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this fund into your bank account. I intend to part 30% of this fund to you while 70% shall be for me. I do need to stress that there is practically no risk involved, hence it is going to be a bank-to-bank transfer. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund.
I will appreciate your timely response and I will initiate this process towards an immediate conclusion.
Mr. Stephen Tshabalala.