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)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge deposit" (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.)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: Charles Morgan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2010 06:01:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: ATTN: Friend, [It's Very Urgent]
MORGAN CHAMBERS $ ASSOCIATES
85, Western Avenue,
obvious that this proposal will come to you as a surprise; this is because we
have not met before but I am inspired to sending you this email following the
huge fund transfer opportunity that will be of mutual benefit to both of us.
am Barrister Charles Morgan Attorney to the late Engr. Ronald Johnson a
national of Northern American, who used to work with Shell Petroleum
Development Company (SPDC) in Nigeria On the 11th of November, 2002. My client,
his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident along
Sagamu/Lagos Express Road.
they all lost their lives in the event of the accident, since then I have made
several enquiries to several Embassies to locate any of my clients extended
relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful.
several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the
Internet to locate any member of his family but of no avail, hence I contacted
you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client;
I can easily convince the bank with my legal practice that you are the only
surviving relation of my client. Otherwise the Estate he left behind will be
confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where these huge deposits
were lodged. Particularly, the Bank where the deceased had an account valued at
about $15 million U.S dollars (Fifteen million U.S. America dollars).
The bank issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account
confiscated within the next ten official working days.
have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over several years now. I
seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased, so that the
proceeds of this account valued at $15million U.S dollars can be paid to your
account and then you and I can share the money, 50% to me and 50% to you.
require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through and also
forward the following to me:
Your Full Name:.......
Your House Address:..................
Your Contact Telephone /Fax Number: ......
Your Age and Gender:.......................
Your Occupation: .................................
that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you
from any breach of the law.
in touch with me VIA this my confidential email (email@example.com)