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:
- "please indicate your interest" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "00,000.00" (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.
- 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: "Kelvin Grant" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 09:34:29 +0100
I await your "Acceptance Letter"...(04/20/2010)
THIS IS FOR YOUR ATTENTION.
I wish to notify you that you were listed as a beneficiary to an Inheritance totaling a sum
of 8,600,000.00GBP (Eight Million, Six Hundred Thousand British Pounds) in the codicil and
last testament of the deceased.(Name now withheld). I am contacting you because you bear the
surname identity of the deceased and therefore, we can present you as the beneficiary to the
I therefore reckon that you can receive this fund as you are qualified by your name
identity. All the legal papers will be processed on your acceptance. In the light of the
above, I request that you kindly forward to me your letter of acceptance; your current
telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address to enable us file the necessary documents
at the High Court Probate Division for the release of this sum of money to you.
If per adventure, you deem it fit to be part of this great promising venture, please
indicate your interest by responding to this notice via my personal email address: