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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. William Alex." <.email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Dr. William Alex." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2016 17:17:14 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Hello Friend,
I am Dr. William Alex, The Auditor in charge of Foreign Remittance Department of a Bank in the Commercial city of Cotonou, Benin Republic.
This is a very confidential proposition for you. On July 21st 2003,an Importer of Textiles and Automobiles for the past Thirteen years made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at ten million seven hundred thousand United States Dollars (US$10.7musd) in my branch.
Upon maturity on July 20th 2004 as his Credit Officer, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply.
After a month, we sent a reminder and finally I discovered from his employees, that Client was one of the passengers who died with his entire family in the ill-fated plane crash involving a UTA Boeing 727 Chartered Flight that took off from Cotonou Benin Republic and crashed into Atlantic Ocean on Thursday 25th December 2003.
For further details of the Plane Crash, Please Visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3348109.stm, further investigations, and all attempts to trace his next of kin were fruitless.
Again, I made further investigation and discovered that the Client did not declare any next of kin or relations in all his official documents, including his Bank Deposit paper work in my Bank.
This sum of ten million seven hundred thousand United States Dollars (US$10.7 million USD) is still sitting in my Bank no one will ever come forward to claim it.
According to the national Banking ethics, codes and Laws, at the expiration of fifteen (15) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the Benin Government if nobody applies to claim the fund.
Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin to the deceased.
This is simple, I will like you to respond immediately with your full names and contact information so as I will send to you a specimen copy of an application form which you will refill and send to the bank putting claim over the said balance with the bank as the bonafide next of kin to the deceased.
The money will be paid into your account for us to share in the ratio of 50% for me and 40% for you, while 5% will be set aside for any expenses that may arise in the process of transferring this fund into your chosen/nominated bank account you wish to receive it, and 5% to the motherless and the needy in your country.
Upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant information.
Please send to me your confidential telephone and fax numbers for easy communication, oral discussion and more directives on what next to do.
You should observe utmost confidentiality and be rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to invest my share in your country which you will be the arrow head of the investment.
I must not fail to tell you that this transaction is totally risk free and legitimate as far as you can follow up with my instructions and directives as an insider here in the bank, so, don't have any fear in you about the transaction.
I Await your urgent reply.
Thanks and God bless.
Dr. William Alex.