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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Trevor Herbert" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 09 May 2017 03:17:46 -0700
Subject: Refund Transfer Matter
From The Desk Of Mr. Trevor Herbert,
Compliment of the day to you. I hope this finds you well. I am Mr. Trevor Herbert the account officer of a foreigner named Mr. Lawrence Yang, who died of Esophageal Cancer (May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace).
Mr. Lawrence Yang made numerous (Confidential Fixed Deposit), valued at USD 15.5 million US dollars with my bank. Upon maturity in 2015, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. On further investigation, I found out that he died without making a "WILL" regarding this fund he deposited in our bank, I therefore made further investigation and discovered that Mr. Lawrence Yang did not declare any next of kin or relations in all his official documents, including his Bank Deposit paperwork in my Bank. He also never had any children.
This sum of USD 15.5 million has been floating as unclaimed since 2010 in my bank as all efforts to get his relatives have hit the stones.
According to the British law, at the expiration of 8 (Eight) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the British Government if nobody applies to claim the fund, and the eight years is the end of January 2018. Consequently, my proposal is that I want to seek your consent as a foreigner to stand in as the owner of the money as the next of kin to the deceased so that the bank will transfer the money to your designated account. All documents and proves to enable you get this fund will be carefully worked out. I have secured from the probate an order of mandamus to locate any of the deceased beneficiaries, and moreso, I am assuring you that the business is risk free involvement. Your share stays while the rest be for me and for investment purpose, as i will leave Nottingham immediately we have concluded this project.
The sharing of the funds will be based according to agreement between you and me. As soon as I receive an acknowledgement of receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual business proposal, I will furnish you with the necessary modalities and disbursement ratio to suit both parties without any conflict. If this proposal is acceptable to you, do not take undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed in you. Please acknowledge receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual business endeavor by furnishing me with the following information if you are interested:
1. Your names and mailing address, in order for me to prepare the document for transfer of the funds in your name.
2. Direct Telephone and fax numbers. All for the purpose of an authentic claim to the fund.
Mr. Trevor Herbert