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:
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Reuben Erickson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2019 00:53:53 -0700
Subject: Re: It May Interest You
Hello Good Morning,
Compliments of the day to you. By way of introduction, I am Mr. Reuben Erickson, I work with one of the major banks here in South Africa. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail. I have a business proposal which I believe would be of interest to you. It concerns a deceased client and an estate he left behind, without naming a beneficiary to the funds left behind.
There is Fifty Eight Million Three Hundred and Seventy Thousand United State Dollars ($58,370,000.00) deposited and I alone have the deposit details and the bank will release the deposit to no one unless I instruct them to do so. I alone know of the existence of this deposit for as far as my Bank is concerned. The transaction with our deceased customer ended when the bank could not locate the next of kin as none was stated when he set up the secret account. I have carefully moved the funds to the transfer department in a special account pending when I will find a trusted person that will receive the funds on my behalf overseas.
They are simply awaiting instructions to release the deposit to any party that comes forward with the documents which I will provide for you. This is the situation. This bank has spent great amounts of money trying to track this man's family; they have investigated for months and have found no family. The investigation has come to an end.
My proposal; I am prepared to place you in a position to give instruction for the release of the deposit to you as the closest surviving relation since you are a foreigner like he was. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the money with you in half. That is: I will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you. We share the proceeds 60/40.
I want to invest my own share with your help in your country/company if you assist me to the funds out to your account. I have never been a business man and don't know anything about it so I am depending on you for assistance in investing the funds in any profitable
If its in your interest to proceed with the transaction, please respond to this email account with your contact number and I will give you a more detailed information of the source and origin of the estate as well as the transaction proper. I anticipate your cooperation while I also expect you to keep the content of this letter very confidential.
Mr. Reuben Erickson