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:
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "u.k " (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Mark Duke" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2010 15:47:26 -0700
Subject: Greetings/Letter From Mark Duke Esq.
I am Barrister Mark Duke.I am reaching out to you as regards the handling of an investment portfolio.
I am soliciting your assistance in repatriating the funds and property left behind by my late client before it is confiscated by the government and declared unserviceable by the bank where the huge deposit is lodged.
My Client died intestate and every attempt to trace any member of his family has proved unsuccessful and abortive. Do note that your identity or country of origin does not matter.
I will give you more information upon your response. You should respond by sending the following:
1. Your full names
2. Tel & fax numbers
3. Complete Address
4.Your occupation and your Age
If Interested Please Reply me Via my PrivateEmail:email@example.com
I humbly look forward to your soonest response.
Barrister Mark Duke.