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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Harriet Barnabas <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 13:47:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Very Urgent
I am Mrs Harriet Barnabas From Harlsden, North West London, here in England.
I am writing you from my office that will be of an imense benefit to both
of us.I discovered an abandoned sum of $12.5 Million United State dollars
(Twelve million five hundred thousand Usa Dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our
foreign customers Late Mr. Thompson Morrison, an American citizen who unfortunately lost his life in the plane crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which crashed on January
31 2000, including his wife and only daughter.
I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin/Will Beneficiary to
the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at $12.5 Million
United State Dollars can be paid to your Account.
This will be disbursed or shared in these percentages, 60% to me and 40%
to you. I have secured all necessary legal documents that can be used to
back up this claim we are making.
You shall read more about the crash on visiting this site.
Please, provide me the following, as we have 7 days to run it through.
This is very very URGENT PLEASE.
1. Full Name.
2. Your Direct Mobile Number.
3. Your Contact Address.
Mrs Harriet Barnabas