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:
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Gareth Powell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 30 Sep 2017 01:35:43 -0300
Subject: Good news.
Hello my good friend. I am pleased to get your friendship at this
time. How are you doing today?
I write you this proposal in good faith hoping that I will rely
on you in a business transaction which requires absolute
confidentiality and it will also be of great interest and benefit
to our both families.
I am Gareth Powell, Human Resources Department First Gulf Bank
Abu Dhabi main branch, United Arab Emirates.
In 2007, one Husson Wolfgang an Emirate Citizen whose surname is
same as yours and has your country in his file as his place of
origin, made a fixed deposit for 36 months, valued at
$26,700,000.00 with my bank. I happened to be his Account Officer
The maturity date for the fixed deposit contract was 27th of
September 2010. Sadly. Husson Wolfgang was among the death
victims in the September 2009 earthquake in Indonesia that left
over 1,200 people dead while he was there on business trip. Since
the last quarter of 2010 until today, the management of my bank
has been finding means to reach him so as to know if he will roll
over the Deposit or have the contract sum withdrawn. When I
discovered that this will happen, I have tried to think up a
procedure to preserve this funds and use the proceeds for
Some Directors here have been trying to find out from me the
information about this account and the owner, but I have kept it
closed because, I know that if they become aware that Husson is
late, they will divert the funds for their selfish interest and
share among themselves.
My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as
the next-of-kin and beneficiary to the funds since you have the
same name. I have done an inside bank arrangement and all you
have to do is to provide me with your information which will be
requested as we proceed further so that i can register you into
the system database of First Gulf Bank to reflect you as the next
All legal documents to back up this transfer will be made
available, all i require is your honesty, trust, cooperation and
commitment towards this transaction to enable us complete
transfer successfully.. If this business proposition offends your
moral values, do accept my apology.
Lastly this transaction will be executed under a legitimate
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law and
it is 100% risk free so long you adhere to my instructions.
If you concur to this proposition, 50% equal sharing Ratio should
be a fair deal.
I want you to give me your email address and i will send you more
details and also i will request your details because i will have
to register your information into the First Gulf Bank database as
the next of kin and beneficiary to the funds here in my bank.
Mr Gareth Powell
Human Resources Dept
First Gulf Bank