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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "there are practically no risks involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: David Bentley <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2017 16:45:50 -0600
Subject: This requires a very private arrangement.
I write with respect to a private and confidential matter regarding
Â£4,800,000 (Four million, Eight Hundred Thousand British Pounds) only
in a dormant account in my bank here in London. You are hence being
contacted to be legally nominated as next of kin (inheritor) to a late
client who did not nominate an inheritor or next of kin to his account
before his death.
Nonetheless, this requires a very private arrangement. If you can
receive this fund under legal claims, then I will fill you in and your
participation will be 40% of the total money. There are practically no
risks involved as long as you will remain honest to me and follow my
instructions till the end of this important business. I will be
trusting in you and believe that you will never let me down either now
or in future. The whole process will be executed under a very
legitimate arrangement that will protect you and myself from any
breach of the law. It will be a simple bank-to-bank transfer via an
International Certified bank draft or Direct bank transfer. I have all
the details and will fill you in if you are really interested. Your
major role would be to stand as the beneficiary to this fund in our
bank and provide an account where the funds will be transferred.
Please note, you have the "express ticket" that is most valuable to
the success of this pursuit (your last name). Since you have a similar
last name to late account beneficiary, it will be most credible to
establish you as the next of kin/beneficiary. I took this decision
basically because of this reason and I hope it is going to open up a
good business relationship that will stand the test of time between
you and I.
All correspondence will be via email for now: firstname.lastname@example.org,
but I will provide you with a telephone number to reach me as soon as
I confirm your seriousness to execute this deal with me.
Therefore, I will expect a straight answer from you. If yes, please
get back to me so that we can get this done without further delay.
Thank you and God bless you.