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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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 mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447011121213 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. Wang Qin. <email@example.com>" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 15:15:44 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: Participatory Financial Proposal.
I am Wang Qin, an attorney at law. A deceased client of mine, died as a result of a heart-related condition on March 12th 2005. His heart condition was due to the death of all the members of his family in the tsunami disaster on the 26th December2004 in Sumatra Indonesia.
I am contacting you to seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to my late client. He has a deposit of Seventeen Million Five hundred Thousand Dollars (US$17,500,000) left behind. This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. If this business proposition offends your moral values, do accept my apology.
I can be reached only on : email@example.com
Barrister Wang Qin.
Attorney at Law
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org