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:
- "million 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)
- "my direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "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 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 Lin Yong" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 22:55:05 +0800
Subject: Legitimate Arrangement
I am Lin Yong, an attorney at law. I discovered your email and information through internet search so I decided to contact you.
A deceased client of mine, who hereinafter shall be referred to as my client,died as the result of a heart-related condition on the 11 November 2001. His heart condition was due to the death of all the members of his family in the Gulf Air Flight Crashes in Persian Gulf near Bahrain
Aired August 23, 2000 - 2:50 p.m. ET as reported on http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0008/23/bn.08.html
I have contacted you to assist in distributing the money left behind by my client before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where
this deposit valued at NINTEEN MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS. ($19,000.000.00 USD).Is lodged. This bank has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin, or the account will be confiscated.
My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as the next-of-kin and beneficiary of my named client, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.Then we can share the amount on a mutually agreed-upon percentage.
All legal documents to back up your claim as my client's next-of-kin will be provided. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this
transaction through. This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from many breach of the law.
If this business proposition offends your moral values, do accept my apology. I must use this opportunity to implore you to exercise the utmost indulgence to keep this matter extraordinary confidential, whatever your decision, while I await your prompt response. Please contact me
at once via my EMAIL ADDRESS or PHONE NUMBER to indicate your interest.
Call me on my direct line +60-14733-1569 for more details.
Barrister Lin Yong.