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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ramon" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2009 19:21:32 +0100
Subject: Good Day
My sincere apology for this unsolicited letter, I am aware that this is certainly not a conventional way of approach to establish a relationship of trust but you will realize the need for my action. My name is Barrister Ramon Jason Olivares of RAMON OLIVA ASOCIADOS. I got your contact information from your countrys public records while searching for a last name similar to my late client; he died along with his entire family during the Tsunami catastrophe which occurred on 27th December, 2004.
Before his death, he deposited the sum of US$10,700,000:00 (Ten Million Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) with a finance & security company here in Spain. The security company has mandated me to present a member of his family to make Claims before the fund gets confisticated or be declared as unclaimed and will be forwarded into the government coffers. For these reasons, I decided to search for any of my late client's relative which has been impossible as he did not declare any other person, address, partner or relatives in the official paper he deposited the fund with the Finance House.
I will like you to stand as the next of kin. As his personal Attorney, I will place your name as the next of kin. I will prepare every relevant document legally that will assist your claims and facilitate the release of the fund to you as the new beneficiary.
Note that this transaction is 100% risk free, there is no single risk connected to this business as I have worked out all modalities to complete the transaction successfully. Once the Finance House releases the fund into your account, we shall share in the ratio of 50% for me, 50% for you as your benefit.
Reply via my private email address or through fax with your full legal names and your contact telephone numbers to enable me call you and give you more details about this transaction. You can also call for further clarifications. Please be kind to get back to me if you are not interested so that I can further my search for another partner.
I look forward to your response.
Mr. Juan Ramon Esq.
Tel:+34 634 140 773