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:
- 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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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.
- +447005961494 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- road london wc1x 8th fax: +44-700-596-1494 reply to email: email@example.com compliments, i know that this mail will come to you as a (Aol; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "John Wood LLP" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 10:37:33 -0000
John Wood LLP
Will & Probate Solicitors
61 Grays Road London WC1X 8TH
Reply to Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise, Please accept the content in good faith. I do not intend to cause any grief to you and your family. The reason for sending this mail is very fundamental to the doctrine of human privileges and right. My name is Barrister John Wood a legal practitioner based in London and the personal Attorney to late Mr. Adams, a national of your country who died along with his wife and two sons who died in the Tube explosion between King's Cross-and Russell Square in London.
My client was a successful and is an accomplished family man, who made enough fortune before his untimely death. Since then I had made several Inquiries through your Embassy to locate any of my clients extended relative but this exercise has proved unsuccessful. After several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives through the Internet, to locate any member of his family, not much progress was recorded. My late client was an influential wealthy businessman, an oil merchant here in London and he left behind a deposit of Twelve Million Two Hundred Thousand Great Britain Pounds only (£12.2 Million Great Britain Pounds) in his domiciliary bank account in a commercial bank here in London.
After the death of my client his bankers contacted me, as his Attorney to provide his next of kin who should inherit his funds. The board of directors of his bank adopted a resolution and I was mandated to provide his next of kin for the payment of this money within 28 Working days or forfeit the money to the bank as an abandoned property. The bankers had planned to invoke the abandoned property decree of 1996 to confiscate the funds after the expiration of the period given to me.
Fortunately, I came across your name, to my greatest astonishment, I discovered that you bear the same surname with my late client and coincidentally, you are nationals of the same country. Being convinced that you may be related with my late client or that you might provide clue to my search, I therefore, decided to contact with these facts before me, because of the similarities. By virtue of my closeness to the deceased and his immediate family, I am very much aware of my client financial standing and the bank account he operates.
I have reasoned very professionally and I feel it will be legally proper to present you as the next of kin of my deceased client, so that you can be paid the funds left in his bank account. I therefore seek your consent to present you as the Next of Kin to the Deceased since you are at an advantage, bearing the same surname and equally from the same country that the proceeds of this Bank Account valued at £12.2 Million Great Britain Pounds can be paid to you. We shall both share the funds. 40% for me and 55% to you, while 5% should be for Expenses or your Government may require as Tax.
I shall assemble all the necessary Legal Documents that will be used to back up our claim. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us seeing this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law.
Please get in touch with me by email with the information below to enable us discuss further.
Telephone and fax numbers:
A copy of your identity:
For privacy and confidentiality reply using my fax: +44-700-596-1494 or email: email@example.com .I will be expecting to hear from you.
Reply to Email: firstname.lastname@example.org