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:
- 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)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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)
- "a reliable and reputable person to handle this" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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:
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2017 20:31:02 +0100
Subject: SEASONS GREETINGS
Hello my Dear Friend,
I know that this letter may come to you as a surprise but due to the urgency of this transaction. First I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by virtue of it's nature as being utterly confidential and top secret. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day. There is no doubt that trust conceptually is a conundrum which leads itself to deferring interpretation, I have decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.
I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance department of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Ghana Ltd. I came to know you in my private search for a reliable and reputable person to handle this Confidential Transaction, which involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account.
I believed that you are capable and reliable to champion this business opportunity. In my department I discovered an abandoned sum of $8.5m US dollars (Eight million Five hundred thousand US dollars). In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family On 30 January 2000; Kenya Airways A310-300; Flight 431; near Abidjan, Ivory Coast. You can check the website here http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20000130-1
Since this incident, our Bank has been expecting the next of kin to come over and claim this fund because the Bank cannot release it unless somebody applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines. But unfortunately the Bank thought that maybe all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
It is therefore upon this discovery that I now decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money 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 don't want this money to go into the Bank treasury as unclaimed Bill.
The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after 20 years, the money will be transferred into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a Ghanaian cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner.
I have mapped out that 40% of this money will be for you as foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, 10% will be set aside for expenses incurred during the business while 40 % would be for me. There after I will visit your country for disbursement according to the percentages indicated above.
Therefore to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as relations or next of kin of the deceased hence I will give you guideline.
Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by email the text of the application in which you will resend back to our Bank main contacts. I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is hitch free and that you should not entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer.
You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive this letter.
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
Mrs Margaret Collins