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:
- "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)
- "million us 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "RAPHAEL ESTILL"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 13:09:56 +0100
Subject: MAIL FROM RAPHAEL ESTILL ( I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU )
It is my pleasure contacting you now, as I have longed to get in touch with anybody who knew my late Client.I am Raphael Estill personal attorney to my late client, who died along with his wife and only son in an auto crash on the 17th of July, 2007 that occurred in Paris, France.
My client had deposited about (4 MILLION US DOLLARS) Four million United States dollars in a bank. Since then there had not been any trace of claim from any person as the fund remains dormant in his account with this bank. Although, I kept this information secret within my jurisdiction to enable me put claims and transfer the said amount through a trustworthy Partner whom I shall present to the bank as the next-of-kin to the deceased to my late client. Ever since I have been trying to locate the next of kin or any of the relatives to come forward and make this claim, but to no avail.
Since you are from the same nationality AND bear the same surname with my late client and I have in my powers to present you as relative to my late client to enable you inherit the fund as his next of kin and only surviving relative and claim the funds. I am willing to process the needed documents to have you presented as next of kin to my late client so that you can become heir to the funds he deposited in the bank before his death.
As soon as you become beneficiary to the funds, and the funds transferred to your account in your country, 50% will be yours for your assistance while the remaining 50% will be mine.
If you interested in this offer please mail me as soon as possible. On receipt of your response to this mail I will give you more details.
Raphael Estill Esq.