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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Castano Giovanni" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Castano Giovanni" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2017 09:19:30 -0700
Subject: Re: sign up for bank withdrawal
Sorry I had to contact you through this medium considering the fact we have not met before.
I decided to contact you regarding a business proposal after I discover you share the same LAST NAME with one of our deceased customer (Name Withheld) who died of Esophageal cancer in 2007.
Since her death, our bank has been waiting for the next of kin to come for the claim of their money valued the sum of 49.5 million EURO, having gone through a methodical search for her next of kin, I personally have failed in the search for her relatives.
I seek your consent to present you to the bank as the next of kin of the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at 49.5 million EURO can be paid to you. Then we can share the amount on a mutually agreed-upon percentage.
All legal documents to back up your claim as next-of-kin will be provided through the help of an attorney attached with The District Court of The Hague. This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from many breaches of the law. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through.
For confidential purposes I am writing you through my private email, I must use this opportunity to implore you to exercise the utmost indulgence to keep this matter extraordinary confidential, whatever your decision, while I await your prompt response.
Director of Business Development
Banco Português de Investimento