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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Michael A. Jones" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2017 04:14:15 -0800
Subject: THIS IS FOR YOUR ATTENTION.
THIS IS FOR YOUR ATTENTION.
I am a Certified Public Accountant officer in my Bank so also account manager to a deceased customer who was a contractor with a prominent oil company here in Louisiana . On the 21st of April 2010, our customer, his wife and their two children were involved in auto-crash. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.
Since then,the Board of Directors of my Bank (ORIGIN BANK) have made several inquiries to their embassy to locate any of the deceased customer's extended relations but to no avail. Hence the need to contact you since you share the same family name with him.
I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and Property left behind by this deceased customer before they get Confiscated or declared unclaimed by the bank where this Huge deposits of US$10M was lodged.
The Bank has published several Notice for the Next of Kin of the deceased to apply for collection of this Funds or have the account confiscated within a short Period of time.Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now, I seek your consent to present you as the Next of kin of the deceased, so that the proceeds of this Account valued US $10 million dollars can be paid to you.
I have all legal documents that can be used to backup any claim we may make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable this deal through.I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate Arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the Law. Please get in touch with my email and send to me your Telephone and fax numbers to enable us further about this Transaction.
Please endeavor to maintain the top secret of this transaction so as to enable us to achieve the adequate success of this fortune.
Michael A. Jones
Certified Public Accountant