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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Ahmed Yamani <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2023 09:25:18 -0800
Subject: Dear Friend,
FROM THE DESK OF MR. Ahmed Yamani
THE AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING
SECTION MANAGER BANK OF AFRICA,
((BOA) OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA FASO.
I know that this message will come to you as a surprise as we never meet
before. I am the Auditing and Accounting section manager in BANK OF
AFRICA (BOA) Ouagadougou Burkina Faso. I Hope that you will not expose
this trust and confident that I am about to impose on you for the mutual
benefit of our both families.
I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of $45 Million US
Dollars to your account within 10 or 14 banking days. This money has
been dormant for years in our Bank without claim. I want the bank to
money to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer I don't want
the money to go into bank treasury as an abandoned fund. So this is the
reason why I am contacting you so that the bank can release the money to
the next of kin to the deceased customer.
Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret and delete
it if you are not interested. Immediately, I will not fail to inform you
that this transaction is 100% risk free, On smooth conclusion of this
will be entitled to 40% of the total sum as gratification, while 50% 10%
for any incurable expenses that will come during the transfer, you have
been advised to keep top
secret as we are still in service and intend to retire from service
after we conclude this deal with you.
I will be monitoring the whole situation here in the bank until you
confirm the money in your account and ask us to come down to your
country for subsequent sharing of the fund according to percentages
previously indicated and
further investment, either in your country or any other country you may
advise us to invest in.
All other necessary information will be sending to you when I hear from
you i suggest you get back to me as soon as possible stating your wish
in this deal.
From Mr. Ahmed Yamani