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"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:

Fraud email example:

From: "Collins Mark" <>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 14:20:54 +0000

Dear Groot,

I am Barrister Collins Mark, an Attorney at Law, personal attorney to a
National of your country, who worked with Mobil Oil Plc. in Zimbabwe,
hereinafter shall be referred to as my client.

On September 9, 2001, my client and his wife made a business trip to New
York and never returned up till now. I, to the best of my knowledge believe
that my client and the wife must be among the thousands of victims of the
September 11 attack since he has business schedule to the world trade centre
that very day of the attack, no doubt about it. Since then, I have made
several inquiries to your Embassy here in Lagos to locate any of my client’s
extended relatives but this proved unsuccessful. After these several
unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name over the internet to
see if any member of his family could be located or traced hence I contacted
you for bearing exactly same family name with him. I am contacting you to
assist me in repatriating
the funds and property left behind by my client before they got confiscated
or declared unserviceable by the bank where he has big deposits.
Particularly, the bank where the deceased had an account valued at about
(US$2.5m) Two million and Five hundred thousand United States Dollars, has
issued me a notice to provide the "Next of Kin" or have the account
confiscated within the next 48 working days.

Since I have been unsuccessful locating the relatives for over four years
now, I seek your consent to present you as the “Next of Kin” to the deceased
so that the funds will be paid into your bank account, then we can share it
on 50% each side for onward investment in your country. All necessary legal
documents that can be used to back-up the claims will be provided. What I
require is your honest co-operation to enable us see this transaction
through. I guarantee that this will be executed under legitimate
arrangements that will protect you and me from any breach of the law.
Please do get back to me as soon as possible through my address, email or
fax while my phone number will be furnished to you in my next mail if you
will be interested so that I will let you know the steps to be taken to
actualise the repatriation/payment of the fund.

Best Regards,

Barr. Collins Mark.
Principal Attorney,
Group Attorneys.
Legal Building,
1-5 Presidential Road,
Harare, Zimbabwe.

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