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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Jefferey Gonzalez" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2020 23:30:00 -0700
Subject: Greetings Dear Friend
Greetings Dear Friend,
I know my letter will come to you as a surprise because we dont know each other before. I am JEFFEREY GONZALEZ., I am the Administrative manager at a Vault of a Financial & Security Institute here in Madrid.
I am contacting you based on a financial opportunity I discovered here in our bank. Its about an abandoned sum of $34.7M US DOLLARS (Thirty four million seven hundred thousand united state dollars) in our safety deposit vault, that belongs to one of our foreign customer, a citizen of your country who died along with his entire family on 11th March 2008 in a ghastly car accident in Porto Portugal.
The banking policy can only allow the release of such funds to a benefactor through an application as next of kin to the deceased. After his death, the bank has been expecting a possible beneficiary, but no luck, this institute has exploited all its ethical possibilities in other to contact his possible relation or inheritor, but no success. Since no one has come up since almost nine years, I have made my own research with the help of a private investigator, it is my knowledge that this man has been leaving in Barcelona for the past 22 years and has never returned back home. I also learnt that his wife and 3 year old daughter died with him during this accident. Im almost 110% sure that no one is aware of the existence of these funds.
However, because of the international financial crises, a lot of reform has been made within the Spanish Financial system; this includes the new law on succession/claims which indicates a duration in which such inheritance could be tolerated. The Bank of Spain has mandated our institute to release the funds to the possible inheritor, Failure to respond to this ultimatum would legally allow the Bank of Spain confiscate these funds as unclaimed estate (Which of course would go straight to the Government´s pocket)
It is therefore upon this entire discovery that I have decided to contact you. I want you to know that I am a senior member of this office. As an insider, i am equipped with all classified secret information regarding the release of these funds. I would be dedicated to making sure that I feed you with all possible documentation and information required for the approval and release of these funds.
Upon your acceptance to cooperate, I agree that 40% of this money will be for you, 50% for me and 10% goes for the reimbursement of any expenses that we might both incur during the short period of the funds transaction. Please note that I have ONLY discussed this issue with you alone. Immediately you acknowledge the receipt of this mail, we shall further proceed and you shall be informed on the next step to urge ahead.
In conclusion, its my concern to demand your ultimate honesty, co-operation and confidentiality to enable us conclude this transaction. I GUARANTEE that this process would be executed under a legitimate arrangement that would legally protect you from any breach of law.
Reply to this e-mail: email@example.com
With my best Regards,
MR. JEFFEREY GONZALEZ