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:
- ",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)
- "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)
- "fund beneficiary" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barry Larry Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 13:20:14 +0100
Subject: DEAR VICTIM THIS IS URGENT
FROM: Barrister Larry Smith & co Solicitors,
325 East Street,
SE17 1AH London, England.
Dear Scam Victim,
We are London based solicitors working as representative solicitors to the United Nations. In the course of a
recently concluded 2010 investigations and subsequent arrests of suspected fraudsters in African region, in
collaboration with the present governments of Nigeria, Ghana, Cote DIvoire, Burkina Faso and South Africa, the UN
security operatives have so far arrested and prosecuted over 300 government and banking officials and arrest is
still going on.
So far, the UN security operative has also recovered about $5.1 Billion from both cash in accounts and properties
and assets confiscated. It is from the address books of the arrested officials that your email address was
Right now, the United Nations (UN) and their Africa Union (AU) counterpart is paying a $1,000,000.00 compensation
to those whose emails addresses and other personal data are recovered from these arrested officials, and also
paying full contract or inheritance and wining amounts to those with provable information qualifying them as
genuine contractors and beneficiaries of funds in the affected countries.
Which Category do you fall? Have you lost money to scam? or are you still in communication with anyone? Are you a
legitimate contractor and fund beneficiary in any of the affected countries? Please respond to this e-mail for your
compensation payment to be released to you.
Please, indicate clearly as you get back to me for proper guidelines and details on how to receive this
compensation OR your full payment.
Send your full names, address, direct phone numbers, occupation and state your claims to:
Barrister Larry Smith Esq.,
(PRINCIPAL PARTNER TO :)
Larry Smith & Co. Solicitors