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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge amount 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)
- ",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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- 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 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.
- +447087660809 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "Gilson Gray Law Firm" <"test@"@hosting.ua>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2016 05:24:56 -0800
Subject: URGENT ATTENTION
From the Desk of: Steven Jansch
Gilson Gray Law Firm
29 Rutland Square, Edinburgh, EH1 2BW
Phone: +44 708 766 08 09
I Steven Jansch, of Gilson Gray Law Firm U.K, Writing you base on partnership venture requested by my client, seeking for a private company or individuals that can manage and invest her funds wisely, she has a huge amount of money in the excess of (?25,000,000)
pounds twenty five millions pounds.
These funds are surpluses of several contracts executed during the years of her reign as the first lady in her country ,she has agreed a 40% reward to the person for his or her standing in as a substitute beneficiary to the claim, an additional 5% is set aside to reimburse
for expenses in the course of the transaction and the balance of 55% will be invested upon your strong recommendation to my client in your chosen destination of the funds, if you are willing to provide this assistance please forward the following information, otherwise
please fell free to decline.
Company name if any:
There will be a power of attorney issued and signed by my client to you for the claim of the funds in the institution were the funds has been lodge.
We look forward for a good relationship with you.
Partner, Head of Insolvency, Solicitor Advocate