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:
- 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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "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)
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2018 10:20:59 +0100
Subject: Confidential Business Proposal
Subject: A Confidential Business Proposal for your Partnership.
I am Dr. Jabu Fisani Agbanu, the Director of Foreign Allocation of South African Reserve Bank. My office monitors and controls the affairs of all banks and financial institutions in South Africa concerned with foreign claims & payments. I am the final signatory to all transfers or remittances of huge funds moving within banks both on the local and international levels in line with foreign claims and settlements.
I have before me lists of funds, which could not be transferred to some nominated accounts, as these accounts have been identified either as ghost accounts, unclaimed deposits or over-invoiced sum. On this note, I wish to have a deal with you as regards to one of this unpaid fund. I have a file before me in connection with an unwired fund, which was not paid to the beneficiary due to suspicion of money laundering connection. As it is my duty to recommend the transfer of these surplus funds to the Finance Department and Reserve Accounts as unclaimed deposits, I have the opportunity to write you based on the instructions I received two days ago from the Foreign Debts Reconciliation Dept., to submit the List of payment reports, expenditures and audited reports of revenues. Among several others, I have decided to remit the fund in question to foreign account following my idea that we can have a deal/agreement and I am going to do this legally.
1. The amount in question totals to US$25M (Twenty Five Million United States Dollars) and will be transferred to your account after the processing of all relevant legal documents in your name as the beneficiary, the transfer will be made by Draft or telegraphic Transfer (T/T).
2. This deal must be kept secret forever, and all correspondences will be strictly by email / telephone, for security reasons.
3. There should be no third parties as most problems associated with fund remittances are caused by agents or representatives.
4. Note that after the successful completion of this transaction, you and I will have a fair share of the fund in the ratio of 50% for you and 50% for me. If you AGREE with my conditions, l advise you on what to do immediately and the transfer will commence without delay, as I will proceed to fix your name on the Payment schedule instantly to meet the mandate given to me by our Finance Department.
1. Your Full Name:...........................
2. Current Address:.........................
3. Direct Phone:...............................
I hope you don't reject this offer to have this fund remitted to your account for our mutual benefit. I assure you to ensure that this remittance will be executed without having any questions or risk affecting you as the fund beneficiary/account owner. I only advise you to maintain absolute confidentiality until the final remittance is executed.
I will wait to receive your response as early as possible.
Dr. Jabu Fisani Agbanu
(South African Reserve Bank)
Reply to Email: firstname.lastname@example.org