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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (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)
- "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)
- 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: DR MATTHEW SHULMAN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 10:57:19 -0400
Subject: Re:Please Reply Urgent.
FROM THE DESK OF DR MATTHEW SHULMAN
THE BILL AND EXCHANGE MANAGER
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB)
WEST AFRICA BRANCH.
TEL:+226-65 70 76 23
I am contacting you based on trust and confidentiality that you will keep this as top secret.don't be scared or surprised, i am the Bill and Exchange Manager of AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK and i have an opportunity to transfer sum of US($6.5.MILLION US DOLLARS) into your account.
I have the courage to look for a reliable and Honest Person who will be capable for this important business.Transaction,believing that you will never let me down either now or in Future.
The owner of this account is MR. ANDREAS SCHRANNER FROM MUNICH,GERMANY,He died along side with his families in PLANE CRASH ON 31 JULY 2000. Since his death, the bank has made series of efforts to contact any of the relatives to claim this money but without success,And my investigation proved to me as well that his company does not know anything about this account.I want to transfer this money into a safe foreign account abroad but I don't know any foreigner,I know that this message will come to you as a surprise as we don't know ourselves before, but be sure that it is real and a Genuine business.
Hope that you will never let me down in this transaction, at the conclusion of this business, you will be giving 35% of the total amount, 65% will be for me.
I look forward to your earlier reply by email for more details.
Thanks.DR MATTHEW SHULMAN
BILL AND EXCHANGE MANAGER,
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK-(ADB)