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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Naomi Todd" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2016 21:17:58 -0700
My name is Naomi Todd, a wealth manager and computer analyst working with HSBC Private Banking in United Kingdom. I humbly contact you regarding the estate of a deceased client with a similar last name and an investment placed under our banks management. I respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail. I contact you independently and no one is informed of this communication.
In 2000, the subject matter, Mr. Andre came to our bank to engage in business discussions with our private banking division. He informed us that he had a financial portfolio of 7,500,000.00 million Great Britain Pounds, which he wished to have us invest on his behalf.
Based on my advice, we spun the money around various opportunities and made attractive margins for our first months of operation, the accrued profit and interest stood at this point at over 500,000.00 Great Britain Pounds. In late 2003, he instructed that the principal sum (7.5M) be liquidated because he needed to make an urgent investment requiring cash payments in Antwerp, Belgium. He directed that I liquidate the funds and had it deposited with a security consultancy firm based in London, United Kingdom. The firm is a special private firm that accepts deposits from high net worth individuals and blue chip corporations that handle valuable products or undertake transactions that need immediate access to cash. However the firm got in touch with us early this year, informing us that this money has not been claimed. On further enquiries we found out that Mr. Andre was involved in an accident in Cannes, South of France. If you are familiar with private banking affairs, those who patronize our services usually
What I propose is that since I have exclusive access to his file, you will be made the beneficiary of these funds. I am prepared to instruct the security firm to release the deposit to you as the closest surviving relation. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the money with you 50/50. You do not have to have known Andre. I know this might be a bit heavy for you but please trust me on this. In the banking circle this happens every time. The other option is that the money will revert back to the state. Nobody is getting hurt; this is a lifetime opportunity for us. I hold the KEY to these funds, and from my years as a banker, we see so much cash and funds being re-assigned daily.
Please, again, note I am a family woman; I have a husband and children. I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to the consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients. Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should act swiftly on this. Please get back to me as soon as possible through my private email ( email@example.com ) for further details.