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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Faith Eze" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 23:47:06 +0600 (BDT)
Subject: URGENT REPLY IS NEEDED
BARRISTER. FAITH EZE & CO. CHAMBERS, L.L.B. L.L.M B.L
LEGAL PRACTITIONERS AND SOLICITORS OF THE SUPREME COURT OF BENIN, RUE 121,
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC.
I am Barrister Faith Eze, English speaking Beninoise, Solicitor and
Financial Attorney/Consultant. I was moved to contact you based on the
present condition of things here. There was a foreigner who registered
with my Legal firm as his personalAttorney and he was a stock broker as
well as a one time secret agent in importing oil from overseas for our
former Ministers. My client was also a Diamond/Gold Merchant.
So, on 2nd June 2001 my client made a fixed deposit for US$6,800,000.00
(Six Million, Eight Hundred Thousand US Dollars Only) with a Bank here in
Benin, with standing statement/agreement with the bank that all
correspondences in respect to the fixed deposit contract must be sent to
him through my humble chambers. Upon maturity, the routine notification
sent to me, which I dispatched to his forwarding address as usual without
After a month, I sent a reminder which I received from the bank without
any reply again. Finally, I discovered from my client's contract employee
that he died among many others on Sept.11, 2001 Terrorist attack though
his death was on a secondary cause during the inferno and his names were
not listed in the 9/11 data. He died without making any WILL and all
attempts to trace his relatives was fruitless.
I also discovered that he did not declare any kin or relations in all his
official documents, including his fixed deposit contract with the bank.
Hence I seek your consent to present you to this bank as the next of kin
based on the official letter I just received from his bankers reminding me
that BENINOISE LAW states that at the expiration of ten (10) years the
money will be reverted to the ownership of the BENINOISE Government if I
do not confirm the next of kin to claim the fund.
Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand
in as the next of kin to my deceased client since you shares the same
surname and also from this same country so that the fruits of this old
man's labour will not go into the hands of some corrupt government
Note that this transaction is simple and risk free because I will provide
expert legal services that will guarantee the successful execution of this
deal. If you are interested, please contact me as soon as possible through
phone, I shall provide you with more details and how we shall proceed with
the claims. I expect you to observe utmost confidentiality and be rest
assured that this transaction would be profitable for both of us. Kindly
reply to my secured email account as email@example.com Thanks as
I wait for your reply.
Hon. Barrister Faith Eze
+229 96 39 83 42