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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "a reliable and reputable person to handle this" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "foreign remittance department" (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: "Antonio Capilla." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 19:23:55 +0300
Subject: Vital Informations !
How are you today ? First I must solicit your confidence in this transaction; this is by virtue of
its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret. Though I know that a
transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but
I am assuring that this is real and genuine. I am the director, bills and
exchange at the foreign remittance department of the Standard Chartered Bank
Spain. I came to know you in my private search for a reliable and reputable
person to handle this Confidential Transaction, which involves the transfer of
a huge sum of money to a foreign account requiring maximum confidence.
MY PROPOSITION; We discovered an abandoned sum of ?14,320,000.00 (Fourteen
Million Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand Euros) in an account that belongs to
one of our late customers(Andreas Schranner ) who died along with his wife and
entire family on 25th July, 2000,Air France Concorde flight 4590 plane crash.
Since his death, none of his next-of-kin or relations has come forward to lay
claims for this money as the heir. We cannot release the fund from his account
unless someone applies for claim as the next-of-kin to the deceased as
indicated in our banking guidelines.
Unfortunately, no family member nor relative has ever appeared to claim the
said fund. Upon this discovery, we now seek your permission to have you stand
as next of kin to the deceased so that the funds (Fourteen Million Three
Hundred and Twenty Thousand Euros) can be released and paid into your account
as the beneficiary's next of kin otherwise the fund will be returned to
treasury as unclaimed funds. All documents to enable you receive this fund
will be carefully worked out. Please acknowledge receipt of this message in
acceptance of our mutual business endeavour by furnishing me with the
1. Your full names and address
2. Direct Telephone and fax numbers
These requirements will enable us file letters of claim to the appropriate
departments for necessary approvals in your favour before the transfer can be
made. We have agreed that our ratio of sharing will be as stated thus; on
final conclusion of this project, 50% of this shall be for us, while 35% shall
be for you and the remaining 15% shall be used to compensate either party for
any expenses incurred.
Your share 35% stays while our 50% share shall be used for investment purposes
in your Country. For your confirmation, you can visit this website for more
info http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/859479.stm. If this proposal is
acceptable by you, do not take undue advantage of the trust we have bestowed
in you, I await your urgent mail.