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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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)
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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:
From: Robert Phillip <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2019 09:26:39 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Bank Claim Info
170 Main Street, Johannesburg 2001
Attn: Sir / Madam,
I am Mr. Robert Phillip, an auditor / bank manager working with the (ABSA Bank of South Africa) Amalgamated Bank of South Africa. I have an urgent and very Confidential Business Proposal for you. There is An American Gold consultant / contractor that work with the South African Solid Gold Corporation, Mr. Joseph Knight and he made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at US $15,200,000.00 (Fifteen Million Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) in my branch. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his employers in his contract, the South African Solid Gold Corporation Mr. Joseph Knight died in a plane crash in Alaska Airlines Flight 261. Since we got this information about his death and on further investigation, I found out he died without making a will and all attempts to trace his next of kin were Fruitless and after I made further investigation and discovered that Mr. Joseph Knight did not declare any kin or relations in all his official documents, his Bank Deposit paper work in my Bank and this sum of US $ 15,200,000.00 is still sitting in my Bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year. No one will ever or has come forward to Claim it.
Interestingly, according to Laws of Republic of South Africa, at the expiration of 10 (TEN) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the South African Government if nobody applies to, Claim the fund. Consequently, my Proposal is, I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin so that the fruits of this old man's labor will not get into the hands of some corrupt government Officials. We shall employ the services of an attorney for drafting and the money will be paid into your account for us to share in the ratio of 70% for me and 30% for you. There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done by an attorney. If you are interested, please reply immediately via the private email address below.
Awaiting your urgent reply via my email: (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Best Regards Mr. Robert Phillip Regards (ABSA).+27 79 268 4400