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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Miss. Charlotte Elliot" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2021 23:32:15 +0800
Subject: Attention Dear Email ID owner
I'm Miss Charlotte Elliot, the Head of Private Banking at BNY Mellon
New York. I'm a very good friend of the late Engr. Richard D Petrelli,
Who is a citizen of the United States. He died on the 7th of July 2013
in a motor accident here in New York years ago. On July 20th 2014, an
oil consultant with the American Petroleum corporation made a numbered
time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at
US$155,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty-Five Million, United States
Dollars) After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace
his relatives over the internet but no luck until a friend of mine who
does not want Her name to be revealed said I should contact you that
she trusted you to be honest and trustworthy personality i can trust
these funds on instead of blowing an alarm for the American Government
to make claims of this huge amount of money labored and also
rightfully belongs to your countryman, Late Engr. Richard D PetRelli.
(He was a good man and has always believed to build one of the largest
American chemical industry here in New York unknowingly to Him that He
will die soon)
I contacted you to assist in repatriating the funds left behind before
they get confiscated or declared here in my bank where the deceased
had an account valued at about US$155,000,000.00 (One Hundred and
Fifty-Five Million, united states dollars) Consequently, the bank
issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have his account
confiscated within a short time. Since I have been unsuccessful in
locating the relatives for over some years now, I seek your consent to
present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you share the
same name so that the processing of the account valued at
US$155,000,000.00 can be paid to you for both of us to share the
funds; 50% for me and 50% to you.
With your Cooperation and assistance I will secure all necessary legal
documents that can be used to back up the claim in your favor. All I
require is your honest/Sincere cooperation to enable us to see this
deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a
legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the
law. Please provide the listed information below, to enable us to
discuss further and thanks for your understanding with my proposal.
Your full names:
Thanks for your kind cooperation
Miss. Charlotte Elliot
Head of Private Banking
BNY Mellon Bank New York