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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cost of transfer" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million 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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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: Mr Umar Akmel <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2017 06:54:04 -0700
Subject: DEAR FRIEND,
DEAR FRIEND, I AM Mr UMAR AKMEL ,THE MANAGER OF BILL AND EXCHANGE AT
THE FOREIGN REMITTANCE
DEPARTMENT OF MY BANK.
BEFORE I WROTE YOU, I PRAYED THAT YOU WILL BE A HONEST AND RELIABLE
PERSON WHOM I CAN WORK WITH
TO ACHIEVE THIS DEAL OF OUR LIFE.FROM MY SECTION IN THE BANK, I
DISCOVERED AN ABANDONED SUM OF TEN
MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ($10 Million
dollars) WITH ACCOUNT NUMBER 14-2558
-5976 THAT BELONGS TO ONE OF OUR FOREIGN CUSTOMERS WHO DIED ALONG WITH
HIS WIFE AND ONLY
DAUGHTER IN A PLANE CRASH OF ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT NUMBER 261 WHICH
CRASHED ON MONDAY, 31 JULY,
2000, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK. WITH THE WHOLE PASSENGERS ABOARD.
THE NAME OF THE DECEASED MAN WAS (MR. ANDREAS SCHRANNER FROM
MUNICH,GERMANY). N.B.YOU SHALL
READ MORE ABOUT THE CRASH ON VISITING THIS (WEBSITE) BEFORE YOU START
WITH ME. BELOW IS THE
WEBSITE. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm IT IS
THEREFORE UPON THIS DISCOVERY THAT I NOW
DECIDED TO MAKE THIS BUSINESS PROPOSAL TO YOU AND FOR OUR BANK TO
RELEASE THE MONEY TO YOU.
YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTION WHICH I WILL BE SEND TO YOU AS THE
NEXT OF KIN OR RELATION TO
THE DECEASED FOR SAFETY AND SUBSEQUENT DISBURSEMENT SINCE NOBODY IS
COMING FOR IT AND I DONâT
WANT THIS MONEY TO GO INTO OUR BANK TREASURY AS UNCLAIMED BILL.
THE BANKING LAW AND GUIDELINES HERE STIPULATES THAT IF SUCH MONEY
REMAINED UNCLAIMED AFTER SIX
YEARS, THE MONEY WILL BE TRANSFERED INTO THE BANK TREASURY AS
UNCLAIMED FUND. THE MONEY HAS NOW
STAYED MORE THAN SIX YEARS AND I AM PREPARING DOCUMENTAION TO PROVE
THAT THIS MONEY HAS BEEN
TRANSFERED TO OUR BANK TREASURY.
IT WILL BE BETWEEN ME AND YOU ONLY THAT WILL KNOW THAT THE MONEY IS
NOT TRANSFERED INTO OUR
THIS REQUEST OF FOREIGNER AS NEXT OF KIN IN THIS TRANSACTION IS
OCCASIONED BY THE FACT THAT THE
CUSTOMER WAS A FOREIGNER AND A BURKINABÃ CANNOT STAND AS NEXT OF KIN
TO A FOREIGNER.IN
APPRECIATION OF YOUR ASSISTANCE, I AM OFFERING YOU 35% OF THE TOTAL
SUM. 5% FOR CONTINGENCIES
(COST OF TRANSFER/OTHER CHARGES) LIKELY TO BE INCURRED DURING THE
COURSE OF TRANSACTION, WHILE
THE REMAINING 60% IS FOR ME.UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR REPLY. I WILL SEND TO
YOU BY FAX OR EMAIL THE TEXT
OF THE APPLICATION WHICH YOU WILL COMPLETE AND FORWARD TO OUR BANK
ASKING FOR THIS MONEY TO BE
PAID TO YOU AS THE NEXT OF KIN TO MR;ANDREAS SCHRANNER.
YOU CAN CONTACT MY Email ADDRESS (firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr UMAR AKMEL