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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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)
- "bank charges " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "huge amount 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)
- "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)
- "foreign remittance department" (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 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:
From: "Zaidu Urtman" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2019 10:01:58 -0800
Subject: Treat As Urgent.
I wish that this message to gets to you in good condition.It's just with urgent need for a foreign partner that made me to contacting you for this urgent business transaction.
I am the manager of bill and exchange foreign remittance department of HSBC Bank in Malaysia. In our department my colleague and i discovered an abandoned sum of U.S.$7.250,000 ( Seven Million Two Hundred And Fifty Thousand United States Dollars ) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who was a reactor in France (Mr. Paul Louis, from Paris, in France) who died along with his entire family in July 2003 in a plane crash on their way to France.
I'm afraid that if the fund remain in our bank without claim for a long period of time, The Malaysia government will intervene, because the banking laws here does not allow such a huge amount of money to remain idle for more than fifteen years.I have tried to locate the family of the deceased but all my efforts were frustrated because there was trace of his next of kin.
Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after fifteen years, the fund will be transferred into the Bank treasury department as unclaimed funds. My main reason for contacting you is for use to utilize opportunity to transfer the said funds into your bank account,in your Country for us to share within us and i'm sure that this can be carried out within 10 working days. My colleague and I have agreed that 30% of the total amount will be given to you and my colleagues and i shall also take 30% each , while we will use 10% of the total sum take care of the bank charges as you proceed . All we want from you is to be sincere with us and also you must assure us that you will not seat on the total money and deny us our shares when the entire money will be paid and transfer to you .its
If you agree with my business proposal, further details will be sent to you as soon as I receive your reply . And please be sure to keep this transaction as top secret and make it confidential until you receive the funds in the account.
Please i need your immediate reply through my personal email address at ( email@example.com ) as soon as you read this message
Zaidu Urtman .
Bill & Exchange Manager