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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 Gerard Vidal" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2021 03:43:55 -0800
Subject: Happy New Year Urgent Attention
This letter will probably come as a surprise, but I prayed to God to help me choose the right partner. My name is Barrister Gerard Vidal. I am the legal representative of late Dr. Alfred, who died in a fatal accident on September 23, 2012. After the death of my late client, I have searched for family members through all research. Unfortunately, the search was unsuccessful.
In the interest of my deceased client, I decided to expand my search through the office to find a family member or relative. Through my search i come across your information, i know you may not be biologically related to him, but because of a similarity in your email identification compared with the deceased,I decided to contact you and ask for your help. Before the accident that took his life, my late client paid ? 13,500,000.00 to the Depot Outlet in Barcelona. As a lawyer for the late client, the bank has advise me provide a next of kin,family member or his business partner to apply for the deposit, otherwise the money will be claimed by the Government. As with the situation mentioned above, I am obliged to ask you to cooperate, which is strictly confidential and safe.
However, I am aware that my request of this magnitude may cause concern or uncertainty for someone. I assure you of my competence to bring us through this process. I sincerely ask you for permission to represent you as heir. The assets will be released after the process. My suggestion is that the whole share be shared equally among us.
My only request to you is honest cooperation and collaboration in order to be able to successfully carry out the process. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me:
Tel.: +34 691744401
As a lawyer and Chartered Accountant, I can guarantee that the order will be carried out under legal regulations, which protects us from breaking the law. If I offended you in any way, I hope you accept my apologies. If you are interested in cooperation, please feel free to contact me for further explanations.