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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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 mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Mrs. Agnes Mendez" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2016 11:36:12 -0500
Subject: Re>:Good Day
From: Agnes Mendez
Telephone:+34 634 030 093
Fax: +34 917 692 697
I am Mrs AGNES MENDEZ, I am the Administrative manager at a Vault of a Financial & Security Institute here in Barcelona.
I am contacting you based on a financial opportunity I discovered here in our bank. Its about an abandoned sum of 9.5m US dollars (Nine million five hundred thousand United States dollars) 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 2006 in a ghastly car accident in Porto Portugal.
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 six years, I have made my own research with the help of a private investigator,it is my knowledge that this man has been living in Barcelona for the past 22yrs and has never returned back home. I also learnt that his wife and 3year old daughter died with him during this accident. 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 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 Government´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 co-operate, I agree that 40% of this money will be for you, 50% for me and 10% goes to any acceptable charity organisation 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 husbands contact details above, this should be done firstly via fax or phone. Immediately you get in touch with me, I would be able to inform you on how this could be concluded.
In conclusion, its 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.
Looking Forward To Your Prompt Response.
Mrs AGNES MENDEZ.