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:
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "David Benton" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2010 22:37:11 +0100
Subject: Re Attention
This is For your Attention:
We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary
to the total sum of Four million Two hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand
Seventeen Pence (British Pounds Sterling) in the intent of the deceased
(names now withheld since this is our second letter to you). We
contacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore we
can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance since there was
no written will. Our legal services aim to provide our private clients
with a complete service. We are happy to prepare wills, set-up and
administer Trusts, carry out the administration of estates and
prepare and administer Powers of Attorney.
All the papers will be processed in your acceptance. In your
acceptance of this deal, we request that you kindly forward to this
Your letter of acceptance your current telephone and fax numbers
and a forwarding address to enable us file necessary documents at
our High court probate division for the release of this sum of
money to you.