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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "% will be for you" (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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Inugreg Greg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2010 10:15:52 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Dear Friend,
I am Brian Casey(Lawyer).The personal attorney/sole executor to the "WILL" of a late client who worked as an independent oil business magnate in my country and who died in a car crash with his immediate family on the 5th of Nov 2004.Since the death of my client in Nov,2004,I have written several letters to his embassy with intent to locate any of his extended relatives who could be beneficiaries of his abandoned funds and all such efforts have been to no avail.Furthermore,I want you to know that your little financial assistances will be needed in moving this fund abroad for investment purposes.
After the completion of the transaction,40% will be for you,10% for charity work,and remaining 50% for me.Please if you feel interested,I crave your indulgence to please contact me.As I have said earlier,I want you to know that this is the present situation now.All I need is your little financial assistance and support so that we can both carry out this project.And whatsoever your expenses on this transaction will be paid back to you as soon as the fund is transfered to your nominated bank account in your country.
I have decided to contact you so that we can both put heads together and achieve a good result.Note,I will present you to the finance company,as the surviving relative to the deceased so that we can put in claims for payment with your name as the sole beneficiary of this "Will".
I will appreciate if you can send me the followings;
1. Full Names:
2. Tel. and fax numbers(for rapid communications):
3. Your age:
5. Your Current address:
This will enable me obtain necessary legal documents at our High Court Probate for the release of the funds in your favour.
I intend to invest my own share in your country,and in any viable business venture.
I will send more details as soon as I hear from you.