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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- "chambers" (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Allen Hogan <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 04:22:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Inheritance Notice
MARGIN-TOP: 5px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 5px
MARGIN-TOP: 5px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 5px
Date: Monday, May 03, 2010
Good day, I am highly
delighted to be in contact with you and sorry for the embarrassment this mail
might be to you as we have not met or known each other before but it is with
trust and believe that I write to you. I am Attorney Allen Hogan, a Legal
Practitioner. I am contacting you so that we can carry out this mutually
transaction due to the confidence and trust I have in you irrespective of the
fact that we have not met or see each other before.
My late Client Mr.
Thomas J. Greenberg an American, until his death deposited a total of
US$8.600,000.00 Million (Eight Million Six Hundred Thousand United States
Dollars) on April 2007 with a
bank. He was an Oil Consultant/Contractor when he was alive. Since I am the
personal attorney to Mr. Thomas J. Greenberg, he gave me the custody of the
deposit documents, and as such I am permissible to transfer and execute this
deposit to any Next of Kin
after his demise. I have since tried to locate any member of his immediate
family without success; hence I decided to contact you so that you can
rightfully/legitimately stand as the beneficiary to inherit the deposited sum.
This is a staggering sum like you know and I need a reliable person to help me
with necessary arrangements to transfer the deposited sum in your name and
recommendation before it is declared dormant by the financial institution where the said
fund was deposited.
By virtue of my position as an Attorney, I will
arrange the documents in your name so that you can legitimately apply as the
heir to my late client for the proceeds of the said amount to be paid to you.
Note: You not being his blood relative will not be a barrier to the success of
this transaction. Your entitlement for your assistance will be discussed and
agreed on my receipt of your possible response and I will prepare a formal
agreement to guide us in this transaction for accountability purpose and to
avoid going contrarily to the law.
I would like you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org after reading this
message if you are interested to stand as the beneficiary. I hope to receive a
prompt and positive response from you.
Hogan & Associates.