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:
- "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)
- "you will be given 30%" (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)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mathieu SANOGO" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 18 May 2017 08:39:01 -0000
Before I introduce myself, I wish to inform you that this letter is not a hoax mail and I urge you to treat it serious. We want to transfer to overseas account ($60,000.000.00 ) Sixty million US DOLLARS from a prime Bank here in Abidjan. I want to ask you, If you are not capable to quietly look for a reliable and honest person who will be capable and fit to provide either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank a/c immediately to receive this money, even an empty a/c can serve to receive this money, as long as you will remain honest to me till the end for this important business trusting in you and believing in God that you will never let me down either now or in future I am Mr.Mathieu SANOGO , presently promoted to Auditor General in one of the banks here in Abidjan cote d'ivoire.
During the course of our auditing last week, I discovered a floating fund in an account opened in the bank in 2012 and since 2017 nobody has operated on this account again, after going through some old files in the records I discovered that the owner of the account died without a [Heir/WILL] hence the money is floating and if I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for nothing. The owner of this account is Mr. Keith Lathan an American and a great industrialist and a resident of Alaska State, who unfortunately lost his life in the Auto crash in Alaska ,which crashed on January 31 2014, including his wife and
only daughter leaving nobody to claim the money. No other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that the account is a secret account.
The total amount involved is Sixty million US DOLLARS only [60,000.000.00 DOLLARS ] and we wish to transfer this money into a safe foreigners account abroad. But I don't know any foreigner; I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved to a local person here, but to a foreigner who has information about the account, which I shall give to you upon your positive response. I am revealing this to you with believe in God that you will never let me down in this business, you are the first and the only person that I am contacting for this business, so please reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to take urgently. I need your strong assurance that you will never let us down, me and a key bank official who is deeply involved with me in this business.
I guarantee you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. The bank official will destroy all documents of the transaction immediately you receive this money leaving no trace to any place. I will use my position and influence to obtain all legal approvals for onward transfer of this money to your account with appropriate clearance from the relevant ministries and foreign exchange departments At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 30% of the total amount, 70% will be for us.
PLEASE, TREAT THIS PROPOSAL AS TOP SECRET.