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:
- "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)
- "deadline" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Timothy Beran <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 12:59:44 +0000
Subject: Have a nice day.
My name is Timothy Beran. I'm contacting you hoping we can work together
on a project I believe will benefit the both of us. There is this bank
account with over Thirthy Million Dollars which nobody has operated for
well over two years now. All attempts to locate the account owner or the
next of kin have failed and the new international banking laws that has
just been passed is such that when an individual places money in a
foreign bank, the money reverts back to the rules of the original
country upon the death of the individual. If the deceased was an
American citizen, its assumed under the new law (U.S. Codes: Chapter 32
articles 3101-3111) that any unclaimed money after one full calendar
year (also the new time frame law) is automatically free money for that
institution. After that one year time, and proof that no next of kin was
able to be located, that money in its entirety (cash, bonds, savings,
etc) is deemed property of the bank and its shareholders.
What I seek for right now as a matter of urgency is a reliable person
who is ready and willing to help claim this fund. The plan now is for
you to stand in as a relation to the account owner and then get this
funds released to you, because the bank has just given a deadline after
which the money will be declared dormant in accordance with the bank's
policy. In return for your help, you will receive thirty percent(30%)
of the total sum.
Please Write me back as soon as possible if you're ready to work with
me on this project.