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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand american 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)
- "you will take 25%" (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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "email@example.com" (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: =?utf-8?q?Aicha_Shareef?= <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:57:53 +0100
My dear greetings to you,
I crave your indulgence at this mail coming from somebody you have not known before. I decided to do this after praying over the situation. You should please consider the transaction on its content and not the fact that you have not known me before. I need not dwell on how I came by your contact information because there are many such possibilities these days. My name is Mrs. Aicha Shareef, from Benin Republic, widow to Late Mr. B. Shareef (former Minister of Tourism and Culture Benin Republic). I have been recently been diagnosed of Cancer of the pelvis. I am writing you from my sick bed.
There is this USD$17.2M (Seventeen Million Two Hundred Thousand American Dollars) my husband has in an account with the Africa Development Bank Benin Republic of which I am the next of kin. With my health condition and because my husband and I have no children, I am looking for a credible person to whom I will pass the right of next of kin. This person will apply to the bank and request for the transfer of the fund to his/her bank account. This is on the condition that you will take 25% of the fund for yourself, 5% used for expenses, while you will use the remaining 70% for the less privilege people in the society. This is in fulfillment of the last request of my husband that a substantial part of the fund be used to carter for the less privileged.
I cannot do this my self any more. I once asked members of my family to close one of my late husbandâs bank accounts and donate the money which I have there to the less privilege people in the society; they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them. If this condition is acceptable to you, you should contact me immediately with your full names and contact information so that I will ask our family lawyer to prepare the authorization that will give you the right of next of kin to the account in the bank. I will also give you a text of the application you are to send to the bank.
I cannot predict what will be my fate by the time the fund will be transferred into your account, but you should please ensure that the fund is used as I have described above.
Reply to this Email email@example.com
Best regards to you and your family,
Mrs. Aicha Shareef.