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, 17 Sep 2018 08:25:53 +0700
Subject: I Need Your Partnership
From: Thomas Mills
Union Bancaire PrivÃ©e, (UBP SA)
Jersey Channel Islands
PRIVATE AND URGENT.
I am Mr. Thomas Mills. 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 Non-Resident 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. 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 Pseudo Name to open the account while the original
owner of the funds in question was the Late President of Philippines,
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 account. 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 endeavor by
furnishing me with the following:
1. Beneficiary name and address
2. Any copy of Identification
3. Direct Telephone and
4. 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 Pseudo 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.