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)
- "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.
- 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: Marie Guenette <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:35:53 GMT
Subject: Claudio Porcelli
Attention: Claudio Porcelli
My name is Ms. Marie-Elaine Guenette, I trained and currently work as an external auditor for the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Vancouver, Canada, working as part of a large team that covers the entire Canadian region. I have taken my time to contact you through my personal endeavours. The OSFI are responsible for ensuring that dormant accounts, policy holders, depositors and pension plan members are protected from undue loss of their investments. We aim to safeguard our members from any financial loss that may occur.
During a routine audit check on accounts, which were discovered during the liquidation of a Canadian bank, I discovered a fixed deposit account, which is presently dormant. This account has been dormant for many years. The deposit belongs to a single holder with a total amount slightly above ($21,700,000.00) Twenty One Million, Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars. Banking regulation/legislation in Canada demand that I notify the organization responsibly for an unclaimed asset after a statutory time period of years when dormant accounts of this type are discovered. The above set of facts underscores my reason of writing to you and making the following proposal.
My investigations of the said account reveals that the investor died in 1991 - the exact time the account was last operated. The Canadian bank where the account was originally open has been officially liquidated since 1993. I can confirm with certainty that the said investor died intestate and no next-of-kin to his estate has been found or has come forward all these years. I am of the settled conviction that using my insider leverage; working with you can secure the funds in the account for us instead of allowing it to pass as an unclaimed fund into the coffers of the Canadian Government. This is especially possible as you bear the matching LAST NAME and the same NATIONALITY to the said investor, and can stand as his extended relative. This is exactly why I am contacting you.
I have all relevant documents (Legal and Banking) that will facilitate my putting you forward as the claimant/beneficiary of the funds and ultimately transfer the money to an account nominated by you. If necessary, we can easily open a new account in your name for this purpose. If you agree to co-operate with me, we will agree unquestionably on adequate compensation for you after we successfully obtain the inheritance payment.
I will explain in more detail what this transaction consists of and what the necessary requirements are, but only when I receive confirmation of your desire to participate. Be assured that I am completely committed to the situation. There will be no risk involved whatsoever if you agree to co-operate. However MAXIMUM PRIVACY is of vital importance if we are to successfully reap the immense benefits of this transaction. I guarantee that the transaction will be executed under legitimate arrangement that all parties involved will be protected from any breach of law.
To confirm your willingness and co-operation to my proposal, please contact me through fax OR email stating the following: (1) Full Name and Occupation (2) Mobile, Home Telephone and Home Fax Number. (3) Postal Address.
Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.
Ms. Marie-Elaine Guenette
Direct Home Fax No: +1-604-