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:
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. John Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2019 18:35:27 -0800
Subject: Business Proposal
November 14th, 2019.
My name is Dr. John Smith a Banker here in Madrid - Spain. I believe it is the wish of God for me to come across you now. I am having an important business discussion I wish to share with you which I believe will interest you because, it is in connection with your LAST NAME and you are going to benefit from it.
I am a banker, A client with my branch by name PETER, a citizen of your country had a fixed deposit with my bank in 2004 for 36 calendar months; valued at (Three Million, Eight Hundred Thousand EUROS) the due date for this deposit contract was this 16 of January 2014. Sadly PETER and his only child was among the death
victims in the May 26 2006 Earthquake disaster in Jawa, Indonesia that killed over 5,000 people. He was in Indonesia on a religious trip and that was how he met his end.
My bank management is yet to know about his death, I knew about it because he was my friend. We had a telephone conversation a day before the disaster as I am also his account officer. PETER did mention her daughter as the Next of Kin/ Heir when the account was opened, he adopted a daughter but the unfortunate thing is that both were together on the indonesia trip. Bank Management requested that PETER next of kin should give instructions on what to do about his funds, if to renew the contract.
I know this will happen and that is why I have been looking for a means to handle the situation, because if my Bank Directors happens to know that PETER dead along with the Heir to his assets, they will take the funds for their personal use and I don't want such to happen. That was why when my secretary present me with your contact, I was happy and I am now seeking your co- operation to present you as Next of Kin/ Heir to the account, since you have the same SURNAME and from the same COUNTRY. My bank head quarters will release the account to you with backup from my office. There is no risk involved as the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect both of (us) from any breach of law.
It is better that we claim the money, than allowing the Bank Directors to take it, they are rich already. I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds equal, 50/50% to both parties, my share will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream. Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through my personal contact details.
Tel: +34 631 563 665
Dr. John Smith.