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:
- "million united states 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)
- "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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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.
- 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)
- street 2001 * *sandton, south africa.* *e-mail: email@example.com * *tel: +27-82-720-7555.* *dear (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. JAMES HANS OF ABSA BANK SOUTH AFRICA." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2022 10:55:46 -0800
Subject: FUND TRANSFER NEXT OF KIN $35 MILLION.
*Address: 120 Aderson Street 2001 *
*Sandton, South Africa.*
*E-mail: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>*
*I am Mr. James B. Hans, requesting for a reliable and trusted partnership
for a highly important and lucrative investment, I came across your contact
as a reliable partner for this venture. I, Mr. James B. Hans, in-charge of
Credit and Foreign Bills of my Bank, AMALGAMATED BANK OF SOUTH AFRICA
*I am writing in respect of a foreign customer of my bank whose name is
Mrs. Monika Bartsch a citizen of Germany who perished in a plane crash
[Concorde Air Flight AF4590] with the whole passengers aboard on 31 July
2000. And for your perusal you can view this web site:
*Since the demise of this our customer, I personally has watched with keen
interest to see the next of kin but all has proved abortive as no one has
come to claim his funds of US$35M (Thirty Five Million United States
Dollars Only) which has been with my branch for a very long time. On this
note, I decided to seek for your investment idea and to share this
opportunity with you as the Next of Kin as no one has come up to be the
next of kin. Because the money will be recalled to the bank treasury as
unclaimed fund after these periods of years as unclaimed.*
*In view of this, I got your contact through a trade journal and my
colleagues and I have agreed to give you 40% of the total sum if you can
handle this transaction in ultimate sincerity and secrecy. Upon the receipt
of your response, I will send e-mail to you on how we need your assistance
to move the money out of South Africa. I will not fail to bring to your
notice that this business is 100% risk free and that you should not
entertain any fear as all modalities for fund transfer can be finalized
smoothly in your country bank account or any country of your choice for our
*Treat this business with utmost confidentiality and send me the Following:
* (1) FULL NAMES: *
*(2) PRIVATE PHONE AND FAX NUMBER:*
*(3) CURRENT RESIDENTIAL OR OFFICE ADDRESS:*
*I look forward to your earliest response. *
*Mr. James B. Hans.*