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:
- 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:
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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: Suvo Sarkar <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2017 13:53:18 -0700
Subject: REQUEST FOR BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP.
My name is Suvo Sarkar, the Head of Retail Banking and Wealth
Management at Emirates NBD. Kindly permit me as I want to solicit your
confidence in an important and confidential business transaction which
I believe it will benefit both of us after completion; 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 you that all will be well
at the end of the day.
I am contacting you because I want to present you as the Next of Kin
to my deceased client who happens to share the same last names with
you. Being his bank account manager, I have been mandated by the bank
to present his next of kin or any of his relatives who would claim his
inheritance worth of Thirty million United State Dollar ($30 million).
I seek your permission to present you as his only known relative and
next of kin so the proceeds can come to you, while we share between us
50/50 of the inheritance fund. Or use the sum on joint venture
business/project in your Country
Kindly reply through my private email address below for more details,
I will give you more details upon your affirmative response.