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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million pounds" (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)
- "hundred thousand great british pounds" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Robert Karofsky" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2016 15:48:38 +0100
Subject: From Mr. Robert Karofsky
From Mr. Robert Karofsky
I expect my letter to meet you in good health and your finest mood
today, how are you and your family doing? Please kindly forgive me for
intruding into your privacy. Can you be trusted in a financial business
relationship that will be of mutual benefit to both of us? I got your
name and contact from the International Business Information of your
country with the hope that you will be interested in what I am about to
I am Mr. Robert Karofsky from Harlesden, North West London, here in
England. I work for UBS Bank, London. I am writing you about a business
proposal that will be of an immense benefit to both of us. In my
department, being the Managing Director/Head of Equities at UBS AG
Greater London Regional Office, I discovered an abandoned sum of 22.3
Million Great British Pounds Sterling (Twenty Two Million Three Hundred
Thousand Great British Pounds Sterling) in an account that belongs to
one of our foreign deceased customers, a billionaire Business Mogul Late
Mr. Moises Saba Masri, a Jew from Mexico who was a victim of a
helicopter crash January, 2010 resulting to his death and his family
members. Saba was 47-years-old. Also in the chopper at the time of the
crash was his wife, their son Avraham (Albert) and his daughter-in-law.
The pilot was also dead.
The choice of contacting you is aroused from the geographical nature of
where you live, particularly due to the sensitivity of the transaction
and the confidentiality herein. Now our bank has been waiting for any of
the relatives to come-up for the claim but nobody has done that. I
personally has been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for 6 month
now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin/Will
Beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued
at 22.3 Million Pounds can be paid to you.
This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages, 60% to me and 40%
to you. I have secured all necessary legal documents that can be used to
back up this claim we are making. All I need is to fill-in your names to
the documents and legalize it in the court here to prove you as the
legitimate beneficiary. All I require now is your honest Co-operation,
Confidentiality and Trust to enable us see this transaction through. I
guarantee you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement
that will protect you from any breach of the law.
Please, provide me the following, as we have 7 days to run it through.
This is very URGENT PLEASE.
1. Full Name:
2. Your Direct Mobile Number:
3. Your Contact Address:
4. Your Occupation:
5. Your Nationality:
6. Your sex/Age:
Having gone through a methodical search, I decided to contact you hoping
that you will find this proposal interesting. Please on your
confirmation of this message and indicating your interest will furnish
you with more information. Endeavor to let me know your decision rather
than keep me waiting.
Mr. Robert Karofsky