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:
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Bruss"<email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:13:37 -0400
Subject: ...your helping hand is needed here... QVDNQREFTZ
Good wishes to you and your family. I thank you very much for your reply and anticipated support towards this project.
I am Dr. Desmond Bruss, the manager of auditing and accounting department of Ecobank International Ltd.
Before we continue, I wish to enlighten you briefly on this project. On a routine inspection I discovered a dormant account with Balance of 34,000,000.00 - Thirty Four Million Dollars and on further analysis, I also discovered that the account holder is Late Mr. John Shumejda, an American Citizen, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGCO, the Global Agricultural Equipment Manufacturer. He died in Plane crash at Birmingham Airport on 4th Jan, 2002.
He died leaving no beneficiary to the bank account, and the bank will approve this money to any foreigner who have information about this financial credit.
The banking law and principle at Ecobank International stipulate that if such funds remain unclaimed after fifteen years, the money will be transferred into the bank's treasury account as unclaimed dormant fund.
For that reason I wish to ask for your teamwork, indulgence and support to stand as the next-of-kin to late Mr. John Shumejda which I will provide all the necessary information needed to back you up in this transaction.
Meanwhile, I have worked out the modalities and mechanism by which the fund can be claimed in any of our 6 Clearing Houses without any hitches.
Furthermore, I wish to propose a sharing ratio of (50/40), 40% of the total amount to be for you after the transfer has been successfully completed and 10% to be used for taking care of any cost that we might incur during the transaction.
I want to assure you that this transaction is totally risk-free and your full silence is expected on this affair.
With all due respect, kindly provide below information while I furnish you with more details and necessary procedure to completing this transaction successfully.
Please provide a copy of your driver's license or passport.
I have attached a copy of my working id for your perusal.
Urgently waiting for you.
Dr. Desmond Bruss