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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "first national bank" (not involved with lotteries)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. John Pazulu"<@>
Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2019 04:46:36 -0600
Subject: Can we discuss?
From: Mr. John Pazulu
(Chief Operating Officer)
My Name is Mr. John Pazulu the Chief Operating Officer in Accounting Unit of First National Bank of South Africa (FNB) This message might meet you in utmost surprise. However, it's just my urgent need for a foreign partner that made me to contact you for this transaction.
An account was opened in my bank by one of my costumer in the name of MR. THOMAS BAHIA a Dutch National from Germany who was a consultant/contractor with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power here in South Africa made a numbered time fixed Deposit, valued at $11,500,000.00 (Eleven Million, Five hundred Thousand United States Dollars) for twelve (12) calendar months in my Bank branch and since 2010, this account has never be operated.
Upon maturity, we sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally I discovered from his contract employers that MR. THOMAS BAHIA and his entire family died in a plane crash that occurred in Libya on the 12th of May 2010. Please check below link for your view and confirmation.
The said fund is still in my Bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year.
Now the fund is $12,200,000.00 (Twelve Million Two Hundred Thousand US Dollars) because of the accumulated interest.
In accordance with South Africa Government Law, at the expiration of 10 (Ten) years, the money will be reverted back to the ownership of the Government of South Africa if nobody comes forward for the funds and it will be tag unclaimed.
With your permission, I want to front you as the next of kin to this late customer being a foreigner like him. The funds will be transferred to your Bank account and after the successful transfer of the funds, I will come over to your country for the sharing and the money will be shared in the ratio of 45% for me, 45% for you and 10% to cover our expenses after the deal.
There is no risk involved, as I will use my position in the Bank to secure approvals and guarantee the successful execution of this transaction within 9-working days.
If this proposal interests you, let me know by sending me an email and I will give you all detail information on how this business would be successfully executed.
I want you to understand that nobody knows about this deal, except me and I have all the required data to set the machinary in motion for successful accomplishment of this transaction.
Please include your private phone numbers for a telephone discussions and reply me through the my email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to your urgent response. You can also give me a call (+27-78-993-6103) on receipt of this message.
Mr. John Pazulu.