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:
- "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: "Mr. Musa Ibrahim" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2017 11:15:09 GMT
My name is Mr. Musa Ibrahim. I am working with one of the prime banks here in Burkina Faso. Here in this bank existed a dormant account for many years, which belong to one of our late foreign customer.
When I discovered that there had been neither deposits nor withdrawals from this account for this long period, I decided to carry out a system investigation and discovered that none of the family member or relations of the late person are aware of this account, which means nobody will come to take it. The amount in this account stands at $13, 300, 000.00 (Thirteen Million Three Hundred Thousand USA Dollars).
I want a foreign account where the bank will transfer this fund. I will front you in the bank as the Next of Kin to the late customer and back you up with relevant information. What the bank need is proof and information about the late customer which I will assist you on. This is a genuine, risk free and legal business transaction.
All details shall be sent to you once I hear from you. The information as contained herein be accorded the necessary attention, urgency as well as the secrecy it deserves. If you are really sure of your integrity, trustworthy and confidentiality, reply back to me urgently.
Mr. Musa Ibrahim