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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: SADIQ YUSUF <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2017 01:25:15 +0000
Subject: Julia Atherton
Mr. Sadiq Yusuf
First Atlantic Bank PLC
4/6 Adetokunbo Ademola Street
P. O. Box 75369
Victoria Island, Lagos-Nigeria
Tel: +234-1-2622472 to 6; Tel: 234-1-2622497
Dear Julia Atherton
This letter may come to you as a surprise due to the fact that we have not yet met. The message could be strange but real if you pay some attention to it. I could have notified you about it at least for the sake of your integrity. Please accept my sincere apologies. In bringing this message of goodwill to you, I have to say that I have no intentions of causing you any pains.
I am Mr. Sadiq Yusuf, Branch Manager, First Atlantic of Nigeria. I managed to get your contact details through the Internet myself. Time is of the importance and I am desperately looking for a person to assist me in this confidential business. A British oil consultant/contractor with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Claude Brian Best made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit on January 6, 2014, valued at US$25,000,000.00 (Twenty- five Million Dollars), for twelve (12) calendar months in my branch. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that he died from an automobile accident. On further investigation, I found out that he died without making a WILL and all attempts to trace his next of kin were fruitless.
The bank has threatened to seize these abandoned personal assets and funds; in line with existing laws. On this note, I decided to search for a possible family member (regardless distant) as I was contacted because of my affiliation with the United States Department of State as I can easily identify with and verify the identity of the beneficiary. I did not only contact you because you have a similar last name with him but because I have enough information to make this transaction possible without any setbacks. I need your approval to introduce you as the closest family member to him.
I therefore made further investigation and discovered that he did not declare any kin or relations in all his official documents, including his Bank Deposit paperwork in my Bank. This sum of US$25,000,000.00 is still sitting in my Bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year. No one will ever come forward to claim it. According to Nigerian Law, at the expiration of 4(four) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the Nigerian Government if nobody applies to claim the fund.
Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin to him so that the fruits of this old man's labor will not get into the hands of some corrupt government officials. This is simple, I will like you to provide immediately your full names and address so that the attorney will prepare the necessary documents and affidavits that will put you in place as the next of kin. We shall employ the service of two lawyers for drafting and notarization of the WILL and to obtain the necessary documents and letter of probate/administration in your favor for the transfer. A bank account in any part of the world that you will provide will then facilitate the transfer of this money to you as the beneficiary/next of kin. The money will be paid into your account for us to share in the ratio of 60% for me and 40% for you.
There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done by the attorney and my position as the Branch Manager guarantees the successful execution of this transaction. If you are interested, please reply immediately via the private email address below;
Upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand the transaction.
Please observe utmost confidentiality, and rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to invest my share in your country.
Awaiting your urgent reply via my email address.
Thanks and regards.
Mr. Sadiq Yusuf.