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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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 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: "Clifford Chance Esq" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2010 15:51:32 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Dear brethren
First, I want to introduce myself as Barrister Clifford Chance. I am the
personal attorney to Late Roger Wright the CEO of Arsenal Investimentos
whom died in a plane crash on the 22nd May 2009. I don't know if you've
heard of the news but you can check the links below to confirm it:
Now, I want to know if I can confide in you for the success of this
proposal which I am about to make. I've been a personal attorney and
confidant to late Roger Wright whom died in the plane crash. I wish to let
you know that he has a huge sum of money which he deposited with a
Security Vault in Spain before he died and as a matter of fact,his child
whom was the next of kin to these funds, was also a victim of the plane
crash and now there's no one to lay claims to these funds. The amount in
question is the sum of 56,000,000 (Fifty six million United States
Apparently as it stands, if no one comes for these funds before the year
ends, definitely the funds will be returned to Swiss treasury as unclaimed
deposit, which I wouldn't want to happen since I have in my possession the
fund deposit certificate as it was issued to me by my late client before
he died. If you understand what that entails, you will understand I have
the legal rights to choose whoever I wish to stand as the next of kin to
the said deposit. I will like to know if we can work in partnership
towards actualizing this transaction, and upon your acceptance to work
with me, I shall be willing to part with 40% of the funds as your
I am telling you this in confidence and I will like you to keep this
information confidential as I am a kind of man who likes keeping his work
discreet. Please feel free to give me a call at +447522310472 for more
details or better still contact me via my private email address at
I will be anticipating on your response.
Barrister Clifford Chance