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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr William Bonnell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:59:45 -0700
Subject: With due respect
I am aware that this letter has come to you as a surprise as we have
not met nor handled any business deal in the past. Nevertheless, I
have contacted you with genuine intentions and I hope I can trust you
with this inheritance opportunity which I will explain below.
My name is Mr. William Bonnell, an Account Manager with National Bank
of Canada in Montreal Quebec. I got your contact address in my search
for the next of kin to a deceased customer of our bank Mr. Albert, a
citizen of your country, who lived and died in London from Cardiac
Arrest in the year 2011 unfortunately this customer died interstate
leaving his bank account in an open beneficiary status. All efforts
made by our bank to locate his relatives have been unsuccessful so I
decided to write you as I have monitored this account in the bank for
almost 10 years now and no one has come forth with any claim. I would
like to present you to our bank as his next of kin to claim this
dormant account worth $17,500,000.00 USD (Seventeen Million Five
Hundred Thousand US Dollars) Only.
You will apply to the bank as an extended relative to the deceased
customer while I work from the inside to make sure all needed
information and evidences are provided to you to back up your claim.
The account has an open beneficiary status, which is why I have
contacted you to come forth and claim the funds as the next of kin and
beneficiary. Since he is from your country and you both share the same
last name, it will be easy for you to become his official next of kin.
If we do not make claim to the funds now, the funds would be reverted
back to the system as unclaimed estate at the expiration of a 10 year
I assure you that this transaction would be handled under due
inheritance procedures and every necessary legitimate arrangement will
be put in place to make you the real beneficiary of the inheritance
funds. It also requires all confidentiality at this stage and I
believe that you are ready to keep this absolutely confidential until
you are able to claim the funds from the bank. Once the funds are
released to you, it will be shared between the two of us.
Please send your response indicating your readiness to proceed with
this transaction. Upon your response I shall give you more details and
we will have an in-depth discussion regarding a successful completion
of this transaction.
Your Full Name and Confidential Address if Different from this one and
Private Telephone Number
I await your response,
William Bonnell Tel:+15144482414