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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: "Wilhan Tan" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 00:05:25 -0800
Subject: I urgently hope to get your response as soon as possible
My name is Wilhan Gunawan Tan. I worked with one of the leading Banks here in China.
I would need your consent to present you as the next of kin to our late customer who
died of heart attack. The deceased was a wealthy business person who deposited a huge
amount in our Bank. Only died without any registered next of kin as the deceased was long
divorced and had no child.
I was account officer and have in my possession all the documents required to
present you as the beneficiary next of kin. I contacted you because you have same
name identity with our late client and can perfectly fit in as next of kin, We can
work together to claim this fund. Please listen, this is real and goes on in Banks
all over the world without people knowing. Let us utilize this opportunity because
it does not come always. A lot of customers open private accounts with different
Banks without the knowledge of their families and when they die, such monies will
be lost to the Bank unless someone comes to claim it. This is how a lot of Bank
Directors make so much money silently.
On your confirmation of this message and indicating your interest, I will furnish you
with more details. Please endeavor to provide me with your mobile phone number,
full name and contact address so that we can discuss in details.
I urgently hope to get your response as soon as possible.