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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mohammed Balarabe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 2021 18:40:29 +0100
Subject: Business Proposal/Next of Kin.///
I am Mr. Mohammed Balarabe. I am writing you this confidential proposition
based on trust, believing you are not going to betray this trust I am about
to repose on you.
There is an abandoned fund worth US$18 million in our bank floating without
a Next of Kin/beneficiary, which I will want you to be a beneficiary to as
a foreign partner, for my bank to transfer the said fund to your nominated
bank account in your country after all the processes have been done
legally. As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this
said fund, thus I am compelled to request for your assistance to receive
this fund into your bank account on my behalf as a foreign partner.
I agree to go into partnership investment with you, owing to your wealth of
experience once the fund gets to your account. I do need to stress that
there is practically no risk involved in this deal.
All I need from you is trust and honesty to stand as the Next of
Kin/Beneficiary of the sum of US$18 million, for the bank to release the
fund to you. The bank will release the fund to any foreigner who has the
correct information regarding the abandoned deposited fund, which I will
give to you if you are willing and interested to work with me in this
transaction. Please if you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely
response for us to forge ahead.
I will be waiting for your urgent reply.