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:
- "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)
- "million british pounds" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known 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.
- +447024053868 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Lloyds Bank Staff" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2021 08:01:27 +0200
Subject: Complement of the Day
From: Mr. John Clegg.
Lloyds Banking Group Plc
25 Gresham Street London
EC2V &HN United Kingdom
Tel: +44 7024-0538-68
Fax: +44 7092-8593-71
Good Day Dear!
How are you and your family? I hope my letter meets you in your best
mood today. My name is Mr. John Clegg, I am the Operation/Regional
Branch Head Manager of Lloyds Banking Group Plc London. I decided to
seek a top secret/confidential co-operation with you in the execution
of a transactions deal described here-under for our both mutual
benefit. During the annual bank audits, I discovered an
abandoned/unclaimed fund, sum total of L19.100,000 GBP (Nineteen
Million One Hundred Thousand British Pounds Sterling) in an account
that belongs to one of our foreign customers (Late David McDowell
Brown) an American from Arlington, Virginia, who unfortunately lost
his life as a single with the entire crew on February 1, 2003 over the
southern United States Space Shuttle Columbia.
I discovered that he did not specify any next of kin or will
beneficiary to his account after going through his file in our bank. I
sincerely and deliberately seek your consent to present you as the
next of kin / will beneficiary to the deceased so that the sum valued
at L19.1 Million British Pounds Sterling will be transferred to you,
which will be shared in these percentage ratios: 50% for me and 40% to
you respectively while 10% is for any expenses incurred during the
I need your sincere cooperation, trust and utmost confidentiality to
enable us to conduct this transaction successfully. I assure and promise
you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law both in
your country and here in London as the fund is transferred to your
nominated bank account. Upon consideration and acceptance of this
offer, kindly forward me the following information immediately to my
private email address for more confidentiality:
1. Your full name:
2. Your full contact address:
3. Your direct mobile telephone number:
4. Your email address:
5. Your date of birth
6. Your occupation:
To enable me upload your information in our bank database to reflect
in the bank network system that you are the named next of kin/will
beneficiary of this account, then I will guide you on communication
with the bank for onward transfer of this fund to you.
NOTE: We have few banking days to execute this transaction deal.
Thanks in anticipation of your urgent response.
Mr. John Clegg.