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 beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: " Dr.Yunlong JIANG" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:03:36 +0200
I know that this letter may be a surprise to you, I got your contact
address from the computerized search. My name is Dr.Yunlong JIANG. I am
the Bill and Exchange (assistant) Manager of China Construction Bank.
In my department I discovered an abandoned sum of Sixteen million five
hundred thousand United State of American dollars ($16.5MILLION USA
DOLLARS) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer Mr
Kurt Kuhle from Alexandra Egypt who died along with his family in Siber
airline that crashed into sea at Israel on 4th October 2001.
Since I got information about his death I have been expecting his next
of kin to come over and claim his money because we can not release it
unless somebody applies for it as the next of kin or relation to the
deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines, but unfortunately we
lernt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with
him in the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
It is therefore upon this discovery that I decided to make this business
proposal to you and release the money to you as next of kin / relation
to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is
coming for it and I don't want the money to go into the bank treasury as
Am contacting you because our deceased customer is a foreigner and a
Chines can not stand as a next of kin to foreign customer.
The banking guidelines stipulate that the fund should be transferred
into the bank treasury after 15 years if nobody is coming for the
I have agreed that 40% of this money will be for you as foreign partner
in respect to the provision of your account for the transfer, 2% will
be set aside for expenses that might occurred during the business and
58% would be for me, after which I shall visit your country for
disbursement according to the percentage as indicated.
Please I would like you to keep this transaction confidential and as a
top secret as you may wish to know that I am a bank official.