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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Peter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 15:47:36 +0200
International Finance Corporation
My name is Peter Clarks, I am Security Manager, International Finance Corporation. We are conducting a standard process investigation on behalf of the International Banking Conglomerate.
This investigation involves a client who shares the same surname with you and also the circumstances surrounding investments made by this client at "IFC Group", the Private Banking arm of International Finance Corporation. The client died in testate and nominated no successor in title over the investments made with the bank. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail private and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail.
I would like to intimate you with certain facts that I believe would be of interest to you.
You share similar details to the late fellow and for that reason I am seeking your concent to present you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you. We share the proceeds 50/50.
If my offer is of no appeal to you, delete this message and forget I ever contacted you. Do not destroy my career because you do not approve of my proposal. I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if you will not work with me let me know and let me move on with my life but do not try to destroy me because I have evaluated the risks and the only risk I have here is from you refusing to work with me. I am the only one who knows of this situation and now you are second.
For the sake of transparency in this matter, you are free to make immediate contact with me through my confidential email: email@example.com once I get your positive response to this email, I will initiate you with the process towards a conclusion.
I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what the consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold.