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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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)
- "observe 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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. Frank Leon" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2010 17:25:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Greetings From Barr. Frank Leon Esq.
Greetings From Barr. Frank Leon Esq.
Private: email ;( email@example.com)
I am sorry for using this medium of communication in contacting you, but be informed that it is based on the urgent nature of this deal that I am about to present to you now for your consideration. First, it will be my great pleasure to introduce myself to you. I am Barr. Frank Leon Esq., native of United Kingdom and personal Attorney to Mr. Morgan van Keulen a consultant/contractor.
On December 6, 2005, Mr. Morgan van Keulen with the UK printing and minting, my client Mr. Morgan van Keulen made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at £22.000.000,00 (Twenty two Million, Pounds) in a bank here in UK.
Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address as his personal Attorney but got no reply. After a month, I sent a reminder and finally I discovered from his contract employers, the UK printing and minting that Mr. Morgan van Keulen died from hearth failure. On further investigation, I found out that he died without making WILL and all attempts to trace his next of kin was fruitless.
I therefore made further investigation and discovered that Mr. Morgan van Keulen did not declare any next of kin or relations in all his official documents, including his Bank Deposit paperwork he left with me on trust. No one will ever come forward to claim this sum.
Now the Bank where my client deposited the fund demands that I quickly provide a claimant for the fund because the deposit duration has expired and needs a renewal or withdrawal from their bank otherwise it will be handed over to the government. Because I have not been able to provide anyone due to my fears of releasing the money to someone who might run away with it, I am being very careful about this. I have however decided to try and do this deal with you whether you are truly related to my clients or not and I pray you will not run away with the money when they release it to you. I will arrange to formalize your papers so that you can be approved as next-of-kin to my late clients and the fund can be released to you immediately.
According to United Kingdom Law, at the expiration of 6 (six) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the Uk Government if nobody applies to claim the fund. Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you to stand in as the next of kin to Mr. Morgan van Keulen so that you can be able to claim the money with my help as personal Attorney to Mr. Morgan van Keulen. This is simple. I will like you to provide immediately your full names and address so that I will prepare the necessary documents which will put you in place as the next of kin.
The money will be transfer to your bank account for us to share in the ratio of 70% for me and 30% for you. There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done by me and this will guarantee the successful execution of this transaction.
If you are interested, please reply immediately via my email address. Upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant Documents that will help you understand the transaction.
Please observe utmost confidentiality, and be rest assured that this transaction will be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to invest my share in your country. (Buying of properties like houses, hotels etc) Please do send me your telephone and fax number so that we can have a smooth communication.
Awaiting your urgent reply via by email: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks and regards.
Barr. Frank Leon Esq.