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:
- "very confidential" (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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS. SANTA MARIA-MERINO" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2016 04:04:04 -0500
Subject: Re: FILE REF: 677/6307/56USIMT
FROM: MRS. SANTA MARIA-MERINO
2 Calle De Formigal, 28023 Community of Madrid
TEL: + 34 â 911 â 980 - 765
FAX: + 34 â 911 â 980 - 766
Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org
FILE REF: 677/6307/56USIMT
I am Mrs Santa Maria Merino; I am the Administrative manager at a Vault of a Financial & Security Institute here in Community of Madrid,I am contacting you based on a financial opportunity I discovered here in our bank. Itâs about an abandoned sum of â¬10.500.000.00 (Ten Million Five Hundreds Thousand Euros) in our safety deposit vault, that belongs to one of our foreign customers, a citizen of your country that shares the same surname with you, who died along with his entire family on 11th March Madrid trains Bombings 2004, in a ghastly Terrorists bomb trains in Madrid Spain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLB3DVNQ9L4
The banking policy can only allow the release of such funds to a benefactor through an application as next of kin to the deceased. After his death, the bank has been expecting a possible beneficiary, but no luck; this institute has exploited all its ethical possibilities in other to contact his possible relation or inheritor, but no success. Since no one has come up since 11years, I have made my own research with the help of a private investigator, it is my knowledge that this man has been living in Madrid for the past 37years and has never returned back home. I also learnt that his wife and 3year old daughter died with him during this Madrid trains Bombings. I am almost 110% sure that no one is aware of the existence of these funds.
However, because of the international financial crises, a lot of reform has been made within the Spanish Financial system, this includes the new law on succession/claims which indicates a duration in which such inheritance could be tolerated. The national central bank of Spain has mandated our institute to release the funds to the possible inheritor, Failure to respond to this ultimatum would legally allow the Bank of Spain confiscate these funds as unclaimed estate (Which of course would go straight to the GovernmentÂ´s pocket). It is therefore upon this entire discovery that I have decided to contact you. I want you to know that I am a senior member of this office. As an insider, I am equipped with all classified secret information regarding the release of these funds. I would be dedicated to making sure that I feed you with all possible documentation and information required for the approval and release of these funds.
Upon your acceptance to cooperate, I agree that 40% of this money will be for you, 50% for me and 10% goes to any acceptable charity organization in Spain or your country. Please note that I have ONLY discussed this with my husband. For time difference and confidential reasons, I strongly advise that you communicate with me via my husbandâs contact details above; this should be done firstly via fax or phone or email. Immediately you get in touch with me, I would be able to inform you on how this could be concluded.
In conclusion, itâs my concern to demand your ultimate honesty; co-operation and confidentiality to enable us conclude this transaction. Please keep this very confidential and do not discuss it with anybody. I GUARANTEE that this process would be executed under a legitimate arrangement that would legally protect you from any breach of law. Thanks and God bless you.
Thanks for your co-operation.
MRS. SANTA MARIA-MERINO