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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "this business is hitch free " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Bright Maphosa" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2023 08:29:08 +0200
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam,
Standard Bank South Africa
2 Heerengracht Towers,
Hans Strijdom Ave, Cape Town City Centre,
Cape Town, 8001
I know, this letter will come to you as surprises as we never met
before. My name is Mr. Bright Maphosa, the director in charge of Chief
Auditing and Accounting Unit of Standard Bank South Africa I and my
colleagues, hope that you will not expose or betray this trust and
confidant that I am about to introduce to you for the mutual benefit
of our both families. I am writing in respect of Mr. Mathy Reinhold of a
foreign customer of our Bank who perished long with his next of kin with
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, flight number 801with the whole
passengers on 10th of March 2019. Open and view the website:
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 $15.000.000,00 (Fifteen Million
United States Dollars), which has been with our branch for a very long
time. On this note, I decided to seek for whom his name shall be used as
the Next of Kin since nobody is coming for the fund again. In view of
this I got your contact through the Internet when I was doing research
on a foreigner that I will use in this great opportunity because I donât
want the money to be recalled to our Bank treasury as unclaimed funds. I
have also agreed to offer you 40% of the total sum and the rest 60% will
be for me.
The reason for a foreigner in the Business is for the fact that the
deceased man was a foreigner and it is not authorized by the law guiding
our Bank for a citizen of this country to make the claim of the fund. So
the Request of you as a foreigner is necessary to apply for the release
and transfer of the fund smoothly into your reliable Bank account as the
Surviving Relation to the deceased. If you are really sure of your
integrity, trustworthy and confidentiality, and accept not to cheat or
disappoint me after this business.
I will send you by fax or e-mail the next procedure to follow in order
to execute this transaction .I will not fail to bring to your notice
that this business is hitch free and doesn't have any negative impact.
You should not entertain any fear as all modalities for the smooth and
easy transfer of this fund have been finalized; this transaction will be
completed within 7-bank working Days immediately we start the claim.
Waiting for your urgent response and please kindly delete if you are not
interested. Email me with this
Mr. Bright Maphosa