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)
- "million 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.
- 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: "SCOTT OBI" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:32:56 -0800
Dear Sir/ Madam,
I am a Solicitor and the Personal attorney to Mr. Wilcox, Alex, a
national the United States and Britain , who died in a Plane crash on
Monday 2nd September 1998 GMT 14:22 UK while they were flying from New
York to Geneva.
My client and his wife lost their lives on that plane crash Since then
i have made several enquiries to the embassy to locate any of my
clients extended relatives, this has proved unsuccessful. After
several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over
the internet, so as to locate any member of his family but to no
avail,not until i went to hisembassy in my Country where your contact
information was given to me, Hence i contacted you.
I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money that belonged
to my late client before they get confiscated or declared as
unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposit were lodged.
Particularly, the Bank where the deceased had an account valued at
about $20.8 Million Dollars, has issued me a notice to provide the
next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next ten
official working days.
Since i have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over
fifteen years years now therefore, I have decided to seek your consent
to present you as the next of kin of the deceased, so that the
proceeds of this account valued at $20.8 Million Dollars, can be paid
to you and then you and me can share the money 50% to me and 45% to
you, while 5% will be mapped out for any expenses during the process
or tax as your government may require. I have the certificate of
deposit that can be used to back up any claim we may make. All I
require is your honest cooperation to enable us see the deal through.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement
that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch
with me strictly via this email (email@example.com) to enable us