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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Min Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Min Lee <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2019 17:58:45 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Memo: Let us work together
I have a sensitive and private offer for you. Please note that i have no intention
of asking you to send me money. As we communicate have in mind that you
are dealing with a responsible family man. If you read my terms below and you
are not convinced then feel free to back out of this transaction.
Let me start by introducing myself again. I am Min Jun Lee, I work with
a Bank here in South Korea. I got your contact from a trusted business
directory from your country. Before the 31st of July, 2000 My client
Mr. Andreas Schranner a German property magnate and also a
businessman, made a numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months,
with a value of Eleven millions Five Hundred Thousand United state
Dollars Only (USD$11.5M) with a private security company in Canada.
Upon maturity several notices was sent to him, with no response.
Recently another notification was sent and still no response came from
him. We later found out that Mr. Schranner along with his wife and
only daughter along side their in-law and grand kids had been killed
in a terrible plane crash, See link below;
After further investigation it was also discovered that Mr. Andreas
Schranner did not declare any next of kin in his official papers
including the paper work of his deposit. And he also confided in me
the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of his
deposit in The Vault and Treasures Security company. So, Eleven
million five hundred thousand United State Dollars (USD$11.5M) is
still lying in the Vault and no one will come forward to claim it.
What bothers me most is that according to the financial law, at the
expiration of 18 years the funds will revert to the ownership of the
Government if nobody applies for claim. Against this backdrop, my
suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as
the next of kin to Mr. Andreas Schranner so that you will be able to
receive his funds.
I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we
shall come out successful. My attorney will prepare the necessary
document that will back you up as the next of kin to Mr. Andreas
Schranner, all that is required from you at this stage is for you to
provide me with your Full Names, Address and copy of identification so
that the attorney can commence his job. After you have been made the
next of kin, the attorney will also file in for claims on your behalf
and secure the necessary approval and of probate in your favor for the
movement of the funds to your country of residence. There is no risk
involved at all in this, as we are going to adopt a legalized method
and the attorney will prepare all the necessary documents. Please
endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this
issue. Once the funds have been released to you we shall then share in
the ratio of 50% for me and 50% for you.
Should you be interested kindly get back to me.
Upon receipt i shall provide you with more details of the operation.
Your earliest response will be highly appreciated.
God bless you,
Min Jun Lee