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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "search for a reliable person" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "deadline" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "utmost confidentiality" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Teruhiko. S" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2016 10:07:20 -0700
Subject: RE: PLEASE TREAT WITH UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY
RE: PLEASE TREAT WITH UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY
I am Mr Teruhiko Sugita, the Head of Auditor and Financial Markets Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Inc. Japan. Due to my busy schedule, I asked my Personal Assistant (Mrs Claudia Chun) to send this letter, I am contacting you regarding the estate of a deceased Client Mr Jaakob Aleksandra, an Estonian property magnate who died alongside with his immediate family in the year 2004 in a mysterious road accident.
Before his death, he deposited the sum of $28,890,000.00 (Twenty-Eight Million, Eight Hundred and Ninety Thousand, USD) placed under our Bank Management. The institution being aware of his death have mandated me to present a member of his family (heir/inheritor) or Next of kin to make claims of this funds with our bank otherwise it will be forfeited, seized or confiscated by the authorities and reverts to the treasury of the Japan Ministry as unclaimed. This is because in accordance with the Japanese law, such fortune is automatically bequeathed to the government if there is no heir or Next of kin to the deceased that would come up to claim the fortune within the specified time. However, this law is unjust and inhuman as it often creates an avenue for the top officials of some financial institute to divert such fortunes for their own use. On that ground, I decided to search for a reliable person who will help me put claim to the funds as he did not declare
officially any Next of ki
I know you might not be related but after countless efforts to locate direct relatives of my late client and a Three months final notice from the Bank to present a beneficiary to the fund and failure to meet up with this deadline means the fund will be liquidate to the Bureau as unclaimed, that I forbid happening. Against this backdrop, I decided to contact you to join me put claim on this deposit before it is forfeited to the authorities. My suggestion to you is I would want to present you as the Next of kin and beneficiary to this deposit, since you are both foreign nationals by virtue of my position as the Head of Auditor and Financial Markets, I will now place your name as the Next of kin/Beneficiary of my late client and I will prepare the relevant legal document that will assist to facilitate the release of the funds to you, without any breach of law.
Note that I have worked out all modalities to complete the transaction successfully and be rest assured that this transaction is 100% legal and risk free. Once the vault is released to you, we shall share in the ratio of 50% for me and 45% for you; while the remaining 5% will be set aside for any expenses incurred during the cause of securing this deposit. Please if you are interested in getting on with this project, it will be highly appreciated if you get back to me so that I can explain to you the custom and structures designed towards the possibility of this fair deal.
Tel: +81 3457-87990