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:
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Samuel Tsien <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2020 10:41:36 -0400
Please read carefully.
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 contact you independently and no one is
informed of this communication. We can work together for our common
I am Samuel Tsien, Non-Executive Director and group Chief Executive
officer at OCBC WING HANG BANK here in Hong Kong.I am getting in touch
with you regarding the estate of a customer and an investment placed
under our banks management over 10 years ago.
In 2006, the subject matter; came to our office to engage in business
discussions with our private banking division. He informed us that he
had a financial portfolio of $18.75 million United States dollars,
which he wished to have us invest on his behalf.
However this money has not been claimed. On further enquiries we found
out that he was involved in an accident in Mainland China , which means
he died intestate, He has no next of kin.
What I propose is that since I have exclusive access to his file, you
will be made the beneficiary of these funds. My bank will contact you
informing you that money has been willed to you. On verification, which
will be the details I make available to my bank, my bank will make
payments to you. You do not have to have known him. I know this might
be a bit heavy for you but please trust me on this. For all your
troubles I propose that we split the money in half.
In the banking circle this happens every time. The other option is that
the money will revert back to the state.Nobody is getting hurt; this is
a lifetime opportunity for us. I hold the KEY to these funds, and as a
Chinese National we see so much cash and funds being re-assigned daily.
I would want us to keep communication for now strictly by email.
Please, again, note I am a family man; I have a wife and children. I
send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to the consequences,
but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that
success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the
one truth I have learned from my private banking clients. Do not betray
my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should act swiftly on
this. Please pardon my writing mistakes.
Please get back to me immediately with your details as follows so we may
discuss more on this.
1. Full Names and address
2. Telephone and fax number
3. Means of identification.
I await your response.