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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "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: "Mr. Howard S. Jones" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2023 06:44:07 -0800
Subject: From Mr. Howard S. Jones v
FROM THE DESK OF: Mr. Howard S. Jones,
National Westminster Bank Plc,
135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3UR,
I got your contact email address on the internet in my search for a reputable, reliable, and trustworthy person who can stand confidently with me.
My name is Mr. HOWARD S. JONES, I am in the Office of Auditing and Accounting Management Department of National Westminster Bank Plc here in London - United Kingdom. I am writing in respect of a foreign customer of my Bank (ANTHONY P. ANDERSON of your country) who died on the 24th of March, 2020 due to this recent Corona-virus pandemic.
There was an account opened in my Bank by this late INDUSTRIALIST/CONTRACTOR who died without a written or Oral WILL and Next of Kin information attached to the account, and no other person knows about this account or anything concerning it, because the account has no other beneficiary or Next of Kin until his death.
Meanwhile, the Banking ethics here does not allow an account to stay dormant more than a year without being operated, hence the money deposited in the said account will be confiscated as unclaimed funds after the long period of dormancy.
So, it is in light of these development that I am compelled to seek your indulgence and active participation in a well thought out scheme for you to act as the Next of Kin and foreign beneficiary of the fund from the deceased, since it is certain that no one will show up to be the Next of Kin to claim the funds.
The total amount involved is £2.5 million pounds, but I wish to start the first transfer with half of the total fund. Upon successful transaction without any disappointment from your side, then you shall re-apply for the transfer of the remaining balance into your account.
I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is 100% risk free and that you should not entertain any fear as all modalities for fund transfer can be finalized within a few banking days after you apply to my Bank as the beneficiary of the fund from the deceased.
The only risk I foresee here is you alerting my Bank or your refusal to work with me.
So, I would like you to treat this transaction with utmost confidentiality between me and you alone. I promise to always have direct communication with you on how this transfer will go successfully, if only you can abide by my instruction.
Upon receipt of your reply, I will give you full details on how the transfers will be executed and I can obtain and manipulate all vital documents necessary for a successful transfer of the fund into your bank account.
I look forward to your quick response. Thanks and trusting to hear from you immediately. email@example.com
Mr. Howard S. Jones,
(Auditor, NatWest Bank Plc)