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:
- "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)
- "million 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)
- "dormant account" (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 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Thomas Mills" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2018 15:57:20 +0100
Subject: FROM THOMAS MILLS
From: Mr. Thomas Mills
Union Bancaire Privée; (UBP SA)
Jersey Channel Islands,
PRIVATE AND URGENT.
I am Mr. Thomas Mills, and I am contacting you on business transfer of a huge sum of money from a deceased account. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day. I decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.
I am an account manager with UBP Bank here in Jersey Channel Islands, in charge of all nonresident accounts. I have been in this capacity working with the bank for the last 15 years and I joined this institution in 1983 as a junior clerk and worked my way up through the ranks. On assumption of duty in November 2002 I discovered a dormant account in my branch that was opened in 1985 in the name of Karl Henning and I have kept close tab on this very account for the last 15 years and it has remained dormant even from the day the first deposit of (US$37, 000,000,00)Thirty Seven Million United States dollars was made to this moment, we have been investigating this account for the past 15 years and discovered that Karl Henning was used as Pseudonym Name to open the account while the original owner of the funds in question was the late president of Philippines Ferdinand Marcos. The next of kin part was left blank hence it was impossible for them to have claimed the funds these past years or they have forgotten the existence of the funds entirely., in agreement with my senior executive officer we have agreed to expunge the blank portion of the next of kin and fill it up with the name of a would be partner who we can insert his or her name and start the process of transferring the funds out of the account to the new would be beneficiary. I also have secured from the probate an order of mandamus to locate any member of deceased Karl Henning family to become beneficiary of this fund. Please acknowledge receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual business Endeavour by furnishing me with the following:
1.Beneficiary name and address
3.Direct Telephone and Private Email Address.
These requirements will enable me make some internal re-adjustments and file your name in all the forms and other vital documents as next of kin to the Pseudonym Name Karl Henning which before now was left blank when the account was opened many years ago. Upon your reply, we shall then discuss the sharing ratio and advice you the detailed procedure to follow and achieve this once in a life time opportunity without any hitch. I must assure you that if you are serious and follow my lead religiously, these funds will be processed and released to you within 14-working-day period. If this proposal is acceptable by you, do not take undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed in you, I await your Immediate Reply.